Skip to main content

Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami

No. I never really got round to telling that I had finished this book. It happened weeks back, (even before The Good Doctor) and I've been putting off writing about it, because frankly, I'm still figuring out what it was.

This was my first Murakami. Rather than say that it was a good book, I would say it gave me a good feeling, like something born out of working hard. I have been reading up on what other people thought of the book (it's one of those times, when I really need to know if I know right), and its still vague. So I have my own interpretation, and it still needs to be worked upon, as there are facts that don't add up. Its like those 1000-piece puzzles of a landscape where even after you find the corner pieces, your work is about as hard as not starting at all. Right now, my understanding involves something akin to Hermione's Time-Turner, wormholes and Inception's limbo. 

In terms of the writing, it was so liquid that despite that excessive abstractness, the book almost was unputdownable. Before I knew it, I was turning another page to some more weirdness. I guess some of the credit is also due to the brilliant translation of Philip Gabriel. The work thrives on details and metaphors; in fact the latter is perhaps one of the reasons I found the book to touch me so intimately. Amidst the incoherence, there are traces of things I feel and have seen but never expressed in words, for the reason that those 'things' are barely more than sensations, they are very, very intangible and buried very, very deep inside. 

The one thing that kept the book afloat for me were the characters, even the outlandish ones like Johnny Walker and Colonel Sanders. Hoshino and Sakura are perhaps the anchor of the story, as all other characters were dabbling pretty much in the subconsciousness (or whatever). I loved the character of Miss Saeki ( I especially loved her dressing sense) and even better was Oshima (his dressing sense was pretty awesome too). I liked Nakata for the only reason that he could talk to and respected cats; besides that I really don't see how or why Hoshino would put up with him. Maybe the grandfatherly touch made things easier for Hoshino, who himself was a pleasure to read about (especially him and the Archduke Trio). Kafka himself, being the protagonist, got the better of me. It was as if I was being offered a piece of his brain, and I am panicking because I don't know how to unravel it. While most other characters simply put forth their actions in an apparent attempt at you understanding their motivations, Kafka Tamura also put forth his reasons. It was difficult. 

There are some excellent quotes strewn across the book (its the first time my book has become so dog-eared).

"Anyone who falls in love is searching for the missing pieces of themselves. So anyone who's in love gets sad when they think of their lover. Its like stepping back inside a room you have fond memories of, one you haven't seen in a long time."

And this one. 

'"People are by and large a product of where they were born and raised. How you think and feel's always linked to the lie of the land, the temperature. The prevailing winds, even."

Murakami himself has suggested reading the book multiple times in order to get a hang of it all. While that is true of all books and movies, I think Kafka requires far more turns than the usual.  


Popular posts from this blog

Man-Eaters of Kumaon - Jim Corbett

Genre: Non-fiction
Rating: 5/5

This one is decidedly a classic, so there is little point in reviewing this book. It is a beautiful one, without doubt. 
Personally, I avoid any form of entertainment (books, movies, plays, anything) which features cruelty - either directly or tacitly - towards animals (I have not yet seen any of the Planet of the Apes movies, Ant Man was uncomfortable too). So deciding to read this book took a certain degree of convincing. 
Much credit goes to the beautiful cover of the book. This one is an Aleph Classics (co-founded by David Davidar of The House of Blue Mangoes fame, and Rupa Publication) edition. In terms of sheer elegance, the cover design is unmatched.

The palette concept of jungle green coupled with the late afternoon sun creates an ambiance even before you delve into the pages. I picked out the book from a thin pile on a shelf in the little HigginBothams book-store near Charing Cross in Ooty, one biting winter evening (more on that later), such w…

Higginbothams of Ooty

It took us some time to decipher that the name of the crossroad was Charing Cross. After all, it is an unexpected name for an Indian crossroad in Tamil Nadu, and the mildly opinionated chap driving us to our hotel had a heavy accent. Charing Cross turned out to be a triangular enclosure, with an imposing fountain (we later discovered that it was named the Adam's Fountain; it is three-tiered, the second one topped by four very colourful cherubs). Since we had arrived in the middle of the afternoon in the thick of winter, the roads were thronging with people and vehicles. Shops were bustling and business appeared brisk. Our driver skilfully negotiated the traffic as we passed woollens shops, gift houses, eateries, groceries and mobile-phone shops. 
We returned to the market later in the evening, after having deposited our luggage. Both my husband and I had been fending off a nasty bout of flu and needed to restock our now near-empty medicine pouch. Charing Cross in the evening (thi…

Top 10 books to read when you are depressed

Books are handy weapons to stave off blues - be it the dregs of the Sunday evening or a nasty bout of flu. When you are depressed, it takes herculean efforts to shake off the feeling. And I'm not even talking about the more severe, clinical form of depression. I can't get myself to pour myself a glass of water the day after Diwali; on Fridays on the other hand, I am the epitome of eternal sunshine. For such moody, dull days, these top 10 books are the surest way to dust a little sparkle in your life.
1) Three Men In A Boat (To Say Nothing of the Dog): This is Jerome K. Jerome at his absolute best. It was published some 130 years back and is still capable of eliciting raucous laughter. It is the honest journal of three young, bumbling flatmates and their dog on a river cruise. Look out for some meandering, pedantic pages, but they offer some relief from the relentless humour. 
2) James Herriot'sDog Stories: If you love animals (and dogs, in particular), this is the ultimate…