FYI, I wasn’t done yesterday. I couldn’t say everything as it would have been very text heavy. Lets’s start afresh today without wasting any more time. 🙂
Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami, this is not a straightforward book. Much of the novel reads like a patchwork of unrelated scenes and conversations. Some scenes are brutal, some are mundane, and others are achingly lovely. The narrative never loses its dream-like feel, and sometimes it seems like you’re walking straight into a nightmare. But within the gentle chaos of the narrative runs a common thread that loosely ties everything together by the end. It’s kind of like going to a therapist and revealing your deepest, darkest, most confused thoughts: the images and thoughts you relate are seemingly random and unrelated, but they are exceedingly personal and are somehow are still a grand part of one somewhat unified, coherent thing within you with all its problems and complexities.
I thought a lot about the story, and constantly tried to make connections between events. I read much of this novel by my bedside window, with the sound of the wind in my ears, or at night, with the window wide open and the cool silence wrapping me in a shell. The quiet inactivity of both the world around me was the ideal way for me to really get into the story. Though some might disagree, I think the uncertainty makes up a part of the fun of reading a book like this–being driven by curiosity to piece the puzzle together and the satisfaction of resolving a part of a somewhat vague image. I felt bored once in a while through reading. The morality of the story is equally disarming and difficult to categorize. Intentionality here is the key: a crime done in a dream carries the same weight as one carried out in real life. Yet Murakami himself is oddly distanced and amoral, as is his protagonist. After committing a rape and a murder, Kafka continues his bildungsroman rather blithely. These acts were a rite of passage, and their effects on the victims are secondary to their symbolic meaning. Nakata’s story, by contrast, is much more spiritual — he is the holy fool, a simpleton who possesses otherworldly wisdom and a quiet, stoical dignity.
Overall, I would highly recommend this novel. The adaptation, on the winsome side of cute, has its longueurs, and if you’re a cat-hater with a preference for a clear narrative line, this isn’t the book for you. The book is weird. Really weird. But it’s a powerful story that will, at the very least, challenge one to think about this very strange, very familiar world. One day I hope I will find more in this book than the first time. I often find that, with difficult books, sometimes multiple readings are the only thing one needs—that and the time to grow, to change, to be a different person from the one who read the book the first time. Future me may see the subtleties of Kafka on the Shore with greater clarity than this version of me, and she might laugh at my incomprehension (or, hopefully, not). We need books like that, even if we don’t entirely know what to make of them.
My most favorite thing about this book; Murakami can turn a pretty metaphor when he chooses — headlights that ”lick” the tree trunks lining a dark road, the ”whooshing moan of air” from a passing truck ”like somebody’s soul is being yanked out” — but he’s just as likely to opt deliberately for a cliché: ”Sometimes the wall I’ve erected around me comes crumbling down.” He also makes free use of brand names.
It is hard for those of us who have based their whole life off of reason to keep from instantly dismissing the improbable, the impossible, the absurd, the preposterous, but you must if you are going to hang with Haruki Murakami. Although, I must say there is something very accessible about his writing style that makes the transition from reality to alternative reality to fantasy back to a new reality painless.
We all have mystical things happen to us. We rarely recognize it, most times we fill in what we don’t understand with something we can understand and in the process snap the threads of the extraordinary. I feel the lure of the unknown quite regularly. I feel the itch to leave everything and go someplace where no one knows my name. A place where maybe I can find the rest of my self, the lost selves each holding a fragment of the missing part of my shadow.
Now I assume my best friend will be happy? I don’t know. This person is quite weird too.