Townhouse Books

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Kafka on the Shore: Haruki Murakami

I read this book in two sessions -- one week where I read it consistently and thought I would never finish it, and one long lunch hour where I picked up right where I left off and yet it seemed much more fast paced and fascinating. During the 2 weeks in between these sessions I read an interview with Aimee Bender on where she said of Murakami's earlier work, "(t)he complaints people have about The Wind Up Bird Chronicle are often what I love most. It's messiness, its hanging threads, its matter-of-fact surrealism."
I think the surrealism is the aspect of Murakami that you are either on board with or you won't enjoy the book. Kafka has a great structure, switching back between two main characters' experiences that are linked and yet don't connect. There are many moments that in TWoP language could be seen as "jumping the shark" and yet, they work. Good stuff.


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  • I almost never buy books anymore, not even ones from the $1 sale rack, but about once a year I will buy a hardback. (An HP if it comes out and sometimes one more). Kafka on the Shore was one I bought the day after it came out. My expectations of Murakami are lower lately, as his style and surrealism are getting a little repetitive. I don't find it comforting that I can randomly flip through a New Yorker, glance down at a sentence in the middle of a paragraph in the middle of the fiction section and know immediately it's him. That said, I can only appreciate Kafka on the Shore's density and complexity and the way that it, like almost all of Murakami's novels, swirls around crazily, crossing stories and taking the reader to completely unexpected realms. (There was a part in the book that brought me utter joy that I was trying to post, but I can't figure out that nifty spoiler coder ring yet.)

    By Blogger evt1618, at 11:02 PM  

  • What I love about Murakami is the way he handles those wild leaps of plot and logic -- you can tell that you're on a crazy ride, but it feels like a luxury sedan. Does that make sense?

    By Blogger Anna, at 6:43 AM  

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