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haruki murakami - kafka on the shore

kafka on the shore

Umibe no Kafuka


First published in Japan by Shinchosha (2002)
English translator Phillip Gabriel

UK edition published 2002 by Harvill Press:
Paperback: 516 pages
ISBN-10: 0099448475

US edition published 2006 by Knopf:
Paperback: 480 pages
ISBN-10: 0375726055

Lost opportunities, lost possibilities, feelings we can never get back. That's part of what it means to be alive. But inside our heads - at least that's where I imagine it - there's a little room where we store those memories. A room like the stacks in this library. And to understand the workings of our own heart we have to keep on making new reference cards. We have to dust things off every once in awhile, let in fresh air, change the water in the flower vases. In other words, you'll live forever in your own private library.

"Kafka on the Shore" follows the fortunes of two remarkable characters. Kafka Tamura runs away from home at fifteen, under the shadow of his father's dark prophesy. The aging Nakata, tracker of lost cats, who never recovered from a bizarre childhood affliction, finds his pleasantly simplified life suddenly turned upside down.

Their parallel odysseys are enriched throughout by vivid accomplices and mesmerising dramas. Cats converse with people; fish tumble from the sky; a ghostlike pimp deploys a Hegel-spouting girl of the night; a forest harbours soldiers apparently un-aged since WWII. There is a savage killing, but the identity of both victim and killer is a riddle. Murakami's new novel is at once a classic tale of quest, but it is also a bold exploration of mythic and contemporary taboos, of patricide, of mother-love, of sister-love. Above all it is an entertainment of a very high order.

excerpt available from the Random House site

The Guardian Reading group book for August is Kafka on the Shore - The mystery of Haruki Murakami's whimsy - Kafka on the Shore is the work of an acknowledged master. So why does this book seem so full of pointless – and pedantic – fancy? by Sam Jordison


2005 Knopf cover design details from designer Chip Kidd

Subconscious Tunnels Haruki Murakami’s dreamlike new novel.New Yorker review by John Updike

'Kafka on the Shore': Reality's Cul-de-Sacs, By LAURA MILLER, New York Times, February 6, 2005

Master of the ordinary - Haruki Murakami's latest novel unveils a world in which the fantastic is trite and the everyday profound.- Salon review by Charles Taylor

Curiouser and curiouser - The Spectator review by Philip Hensher

Convergence of separate odysseys - San Francisco Chronicle review by Gideon Lewis-Kraus

The implosion of truth - The Guardian review by Catherine Humble

How to have sex with a ghost - The Observer review by Tim Adams

Kill me or the cat gets it - (another) Guardian review by David Mitchell

As the Crow Flies - Washington Post review by Steven Moore

Dreams of Cats - Daily Telegraph review by Theo Tait

Sydney Morning Herald review by Michelle Griffin

'Where Fish Fall From the Sky' by SARAH CHUNG, from LA Weekly, Feb 4th 2005

Falling under the spell of the West, of a cemetery, of a family of misfits - Baltimore Sun review by Michael Shelden

Dramas of inner life - Daily Telegraph review by Christopher Tayler review by Mark Flanagan

The Times, review by Hugo Barnacle

The Minnesota Reads review by Jodi Chromey

"A drift in a Universe in Flux Like Some Big FedEx Box" By JANET MASLIN - The New York Times

Currents of destiny run through 'Shore' By Julie Wittes Schlack from the Boston Globe

Wind-Down Bird - New signals from Planet Murakami: Cat communication, fishy rain, and some moralizing, by Paul Lafarge from the Village Voice

A Sure Path...To Where? The Oxonian Review by Mary Carr

Haruki Murakami and the workings of fate - Grumpy Old Bookman review by Michael Allen review by Anil Cherukupalli

Murakami's `Kafka on the Shore' Is a Surreal Pop Tragedy by Manuela Hoelterhoff  from Bloomberg

Haruki Murakami tells runaway's shattering story - Sunday, January 09, 2005 By Anne Jolis from the Pittsburgh Post Gazette

Brief review from The Asian Review of Books

The Complete Review's Page