Bowdoin Reads

Peter McLaughlin is reading...

Kafka on the Shore
by Haruki Marukami

Haruki Marukami’s Kafka on the Shore is a story told through two concurrent narratives. The odd-numbered chapters tell the story of Kafka Tamura, a fifteen-year-old boy, who runs away from home to find his long-lost mother and sister and to escape an Oedipal prophecy put on him by his oppressive father. The even-numbered chapters tell the story of Satoru Nakata, an older mentally disabled man, who is being pulled away from his home for reasons he cannot understand. As Marukami tells these converging stories, the reader encounters a cat killer named Johnnie Walker, a pimp named Colonel Sanders, and a hidden world where time stands still. Kafka on the Shore, along with most of Marukami’s output, has been described as “magical realism.” While the story certainly has magical and fantastical elements, “realism” is the key word. Marukami does not present an entirely new world, instead, he simply blurs the lines between the wake state and the dream state in the world we live in. What results is a world where anything can happen and things are rarely how they seem. I could not recommend this book more. For those who are not yet sold, I’ll leave you with this inspirational quote (sort of an adult version of Oh, The Places You’ll Go). "Time weighs down on you like an old, ambiguous dream. You keep on moving, trying to slip through it. But even if you go to the ends of the earth, you won’t be able to escape it. Still, you have to go there – to the edge of the world. There’s something you can’t do unless you get there."

1 comment | Find in library

Submitted by jkundrat on Sun, 10/04/2009 - 4:33pm.
I love this book! It's my favorite by Murakami, and one of my favorite books period. It's one of those books that makes you keep reading just to find out what strange thing will happen next.