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6 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Do such characters exist? If not, are they interesting?, 1 Nov. 2007
This review is from: Kafka On The Shore (Vintage Magic) (Mass Market Paperback)
Imagine a world in which everybody knows Beethoven. And not just the name of the great German composer, but the piece of Beethoven called "The Archduke trio". Everybody has an opinion about the subtleties of the piece. Or imagine the world in which the 15-year old reads thick books, but not "Harry Potter", not "Lord of the Rings", not science fiction sagas of Isaac Asimov, but books about the adventures of the Napoleon Army in Russia. Or imagine the world in which teenagers contemplate about medieval philosophy with the details that have to be checked in encyclopedia. In this world, everything has a metaphysical meaning, everything is a metaphor...
Many loose ends seem to need no explanation, because this is the essence of a metaphor - to have loose ends. This world is filled with numerous characters, but when they speak you tend to forget who is speaking, because their thoughts do not differ much. If character A knows Hegel, character B appears to be familiar with him, too. This is the world of "Kafka on the shore".

Nonetheless, this world is seductive. Once you are there, you cannot escape. You turn page after page, because the creator of this world, Haruki Murakami, is a talented storyteller.

But when that world ends, you are happy to return to the real world. People in our real world are much more different, much more complex, and not single-sided. And, besides, not everybody knows "The Archduke trio" in our real world. That makes the world only more interesting.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 26 Jan 2008, 15:39:50 GMT
Jean Michel says:
This is a misleading commentary by somebody who does not seem to remember the facts of the book or deliberately misrepresents the characters. Not all the characters are familiar with Beethoven's "Archduke trio", nor are they so similar that you cannot tell them apart.

In reply to an earlier post on 27 Oct 2010, 05:26:35 BST
LittleMoon says:
However, the metaphor comment is pertinent, considering the importance of metaphor within the novel. The real issue being that a good metaphor is instantly recognisable: clouds as sheep, for instance; thus, loose ends neatly tied. The more ambiguous the connection, the poorer the metaphor. Is it a Japanese culture thing? Or are Murakami's metaphors too various and too ambiguous? I don't know.
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