Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This was not an easy book to read. I'm used to books that are more action oriented rather than introspective; the shift took some getting used to. The dilemma faced by the fifteen year old protagonist was diametrically different from my halcyon days of the same age; but some things still resonate.
Kafka is a fifteen year old boy who ran away from home to keep himself from fulfilling a terrible prophecy. Nakata was a man who lost himself at the cusp of adolescence and was rendered mentally differently abled as a result. I still don't understand why Kafka's narrative was in the present tense and Nakata's in the past, but I think that has something to do with the different trajectory of their journey.
The book have talking cats, hidden forests, and a sense of lyrical magic that intertwines through the whole story; a sense of foreshadowing, a glimmer of innocence and unexplained resonance with the psyche. A very interesting examination of Japanese culture past and present, as well as a snapshot in a moment that is neither modern nor obsolete.
This is not a book to be read and discarded; but one to be poured over and contemplated. I really had to resist the resistance to scribble on the margins just so I could keep track of what's in my head.
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