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Kafka on the Shore Hardcover – 6 Jan 2005

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 512 pages
  • Publisher: The Harvill Press; First Edition edition (6 Jan. 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1843431106
  • ISBN-13: 978-1843431107
  • Product Dimensions: 16.3 x 3.8 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (203 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 129,203 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Haruki Murakami was born in Kyoto in 1949. Following the publication of his first novel in Japanese in 1979, he sold the jazz bar he ran with his wife and became a full-time writer. It was with the publication of Norwegian Wood - which has to date sold more than 4 million copies in Japan alone - that the author was truly catapulted into the limelight. Known for his surrealistic world of mysterious (and often disappearing) women, cats, earlobes, wells, Western culture, music and quirky first-person narratives, he is now Japan's best-known novelist abroad.

Product Description


`His books are very moving and poetic' --Red Magazine

Haruki Murakami is the David Lynch of literature; everything doesn t always make sense, but it's so compelling you can't stop listening or trying to fit the pieces of the puzzle together. Such is the case with Murakami's mind-bending Kafka on the Shore, which follows the lives of 15-year-old Kafka and an old man named Nakata, who might be aspects of the same person... or maybe not. What we do know is that Kafka runs away from home to find his lost mother and sister and winds up living in a library in the seaside town of Takamatsu, where he spends his days reading literature. Then he's suspected of being involved in a murder. In alternating chapters, we also hear the story of Nakata, who makes a living as a 'cat whisperer,' searching for lost pets. He embarks on a road trip searching for a particularly hard to find cat, traveling far away from his home for the first time, and the narrative suggests he's fated to meet Kafka. But does he? Oh, and there's also truly bizarre appearances by Johnnie Walker and Colonel Sanders. Oliver Le Sueur as Kafka and Sean Barrett as Nakata both give hypnotic readings of the main and supporting characters. Le Sueur performs double duty for Kafka and the teen's inner voice, Crow, reading with such gravitas that you might find yourself leaning forward a bit with expectancy for the next line of dialogue or intricate detail. Barrett's deep, warm voice is perfectly grandfatherly as Nakata, whose uncertain destination and deep wonder at the world he has never seen is the lynchpin of the novel. Barrett's voice is a national treasure in Britain having voiced Shakespeare, Dickens, and Beckett and you'll wish he narrated just about every book once you hear how he commits to Nakata. As Kafka prepares to leave home, his alter ego tells the boy that he's about to enter a metaphysical and symbolic storm. 'Once the storm is over you won't remember how you made it through how you managed to survive. You won't even be sure if the storm is over, but one thing is certain when you come out of the storm you won't be the same person who walked in.' That can also be said of any listener who chooses to explore Murakami's beautiful, enigmatic world --Audible --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

Book Description

October 2014 sees the publication of the Vintage Magic collection: nine mesmerizing novels that explore all aspects of the supernatural and the fantastical.

'I think of rivers, of tides. Forests and water gushing out. Rain and lightning. Rocks and shadows. All of these are in me'

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Cromlechi on 25 July 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I can't think of a book that I've read that has so many things going on. It is an overflowing pot full of ideas and sequences competing for your attention. I am still digesting the book - only finished it this morning - but it seems to me the book is about metaphor and writing. There is a world of meaning but it's fleeting and if you try to hold on to it you do so at a great cost. Ultimately, the task is futile. There is also a message about growing up and renewal - we must leave things we love behind and move on. We can carry memories with us. But memories that are held too tightly become like a weight too heavy to bear. Ultimately though this book probably defies synopsis and that is probably the point. It is about the 90% of our mind that we only glimpse through dreams or actions we can't fully understand. It defies rational explanation.
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78 of 82 people found the following review helpful By Omnipotent on 5 Nov. 2006
Format: Paperback
What a wonderful book, the definition of a page-turner. The novel is really two stories in one, and slowly they both loosely intersect. The first main character is Kafka, a 15 year old boy who hates his father, so he runs away from home to find himself. The other main character is an elderly man called Nakata, who is rendered mentally defective at a young age and then develops the ability to talk to cats (no really). So much happens in 'Kafka on the Shore' that it would be fruitless for me to write an overview, but what I really loved about this book is that you get completely lost in Kafka's journey and want to know what's going to happen next, and then the following chapter is about Nakata. At first you start reading faster to get back to Kafka's story but then you get engulfed by Nakata's, and the same happens again when you get back to Kafka - it's brilliant. I thought the ending was a little cliché at first, but once I thought about it, I realised it was just a return to the normalcy that began the book. Highly recommended...
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By J. P. de Rosnay on 23 Jun. 2007
Format: Paperback
kafka on the shore is a dual narrative dealing primarily with kafka tamura and nakata, two characters who unbeknownst to each other are both on a journey to takamatsu. kakfa is fleeing from his father's oedipul prophecy (with the modification that he will also sleep with his sister) but he is also (almost contradictingly) searching for his mother and sister who left when he was very young. the other narrative deals with nakata, who after a bizarre childhood accident has been left simple-minded but has gained the ability to speak to cats. as such he finds part-time work in finding lost cats. it is his search for one of these lost cats that eventually puts him onto a mysterious quest. both characters find themselves on an odyssey of sorts whereupon they have strange experiences and meet very interesting characters.

the style is magical realism, but what is interesting is that the fantastical elements of the story never seem overly odd. even when we don't understand what is happening or why, there is a feeling that all the events are still natural - in fact very natural. there is a reverence for nature that emanates from the novel and a sense that nature is more mysterious, complex and powerful than we often expect.

this book is quite a joy to read - which is in a way unsurprising because there is an element of the book that deals with the joy of reading. kafka loves reading, as does oshima (a friend he meets) and there are moments where they talk about their love for books and the meanings of some books. as its title suggests the novel is full of literary allusions and it is interesting how the characters themselves anaylyse their situations using literature and its quite refreshing how quickly kafka recognises the oedipul nature of his plight.
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32 of 34 people found the following review helpful By "marcuscree" on 14 Feb. 2005
Format: Hardcover
This author is smply breathtaking. Any readers familiar with his earlier novels will know what to expect in 'Kafka On The Shore' and they will not be disapointed at all. Murakami brings us typically enigmatic female characters, teenagers in emotional turmoil and the type of time/reality bending that he currently sets the gold standard for.
I believe that in this novel he has created some of his most entertaining leads to date, and has delivered a story that is almost painful to read with the sense of personal loss that it conveys.
I was particularly impressed with the authors refusal to provide neat closure on all issues. Murakami knows that life is simply more complex than that and always leaves certain questions in his books unanswered. This along with the semi mystical world he has again conjured up make this book absolutely delightful to read.
Explaining the plot of a book like this is wrong in a review, but suffice to say that if you have not read any of his work before, this book is an excellent starting point and I fully believe that if you get yourself a copy and give up a weekend to it, you will be very happy you did, and will probably work through his whole catalogue. I know of nobody who has failed to fall under Marukami's spell.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 21 Jan. 2005
Format: Hardcover
For a book that has brutality and sex, and several deaths, this still left me feeling strangely calm and hopeful that long felt hurt can be resolved. For the most part the story moves along well, told simply, and full of compelling and sympathetic characters. When it moves into mystical, other worldly areas the best way is to go with the flow. I had never read this author before, suspecting he might be too weird for me, but this was wonderful. There is not a wasted word in the 500 pages, and the various plots are brought together superbly. Read it with an open mind, but definitely read it.
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