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Kafka On The Shore (Vintage Magic) Paperback – 2 Oct 2014

195 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Classics (2 Oct. 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099593866
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099593867
  • Product Dimensions: 11.2 x 3.3 x 17.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (195 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 771,213 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.

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Review

"If you've never immersed yourself in the wonderful world of cult Japanese writer Haruki Murakami you're in for a treat...This novel's central story of a teenage runaway and an ageing man surrounded by bizarre dramas, is as compelling as its predecessors. Magnificent stuff." (Red Magazine)

"Murakami's tenth novel is as nutty, funny and silly as any of those that have come before it... Philip Gabriel's translation is carefully done and Murakami's prose is all the richer - and pleasantly weirder - for the translator's fidelity to it." (The Times)

"What a magnificently bewildering achievement Kafka on the Shore is. Brilliantly conceived, bold in its surreal scope, sexy, and driven by a snappy and often comical plot, Murakami's new work delves into the congested inner workings of our selves with characteristic brio." (The Independent)

"Kafka on the Shore is an ambitious and substantial new novel... The plot, wild as it is, doesn't waste any material, satisfyingly tightening the screw to the end. In short, this is a book which works in the most expert way." (The Spectator)

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'


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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 21 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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79 of 83 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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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful By R. Gray on 27 Jan. 2006
Format: Paperback
This isn’t Murakami’s best novel, but if you’re an existing fan there’s enough here to satisfy: that blurry merging of reality and fantasy; quirky minor characters (Hoshino is one of the best things about this book) and images and ideas that will linger after you’ve finished. Regular Murakami motifs and techniques crop up: twin narrative strands; a main character who’s a loner and seeker; a deserted cabin high up a wooded mountain; a parallel ‘other’ world…
As always, the prose is simple and the style engaging: it's alwasy easy to immerse yourself in Murakami's world.
That said, it didn’t quite come together for me this time. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle was a hard act to follow, and Kafka on the Shore falls short. Around two thirds of the way through, the repetitious switching between Kafka’s story and Nakata’s story starts to tire as a format – more work on variety and pace would have helped here. And though loose ends and unanswered questions are Murakami’s style, too many ideas start running out of steam.
The somewhat American nature of Philip Gabriel’s translation jarred a little too – slang like “Jeez” and “Shoot” is peppered throughout. And the edition I read (Vintage paperback 2005) is riddled with typos. For example, at one crucial juncture (p289), Kafka asks Miss Saeki a vital question. There’s a big build-up, it’s an important moment in the plot, and then you get: “Do you have any chidlren?”
Chidlren?!
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