Monday, January 27, 2014

KAFKA ON THE SHORE

What to wear: A long, delicate 1960s era nightie (preferably blue).
What to drink: Nothing because the book itself is on one.

Kafka on the Shore was my second venture into the trippy, dream-centered world that is a Murakami novel (the first being The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle), and I was pleasantly surprised by the lightness of this particular trip. It’s kind of ridiculous to refer to this book as “light”—the story line is anything but—but compared to Wind-Up Bird, ya. It was light. Light in that I didn’t have what felt like LSD-induced dreams practically every night while I was reading it. But anyway.  

Kafka tells the intertwined stories of a boy of the same name and an old simpleton named Nakata. They are both on journeys in the non-traditional sense, and neither live in a realm you could call reality. I mean, they do technically, but their minds function on a different plane (much, I’m guessing, like the mind of Murakami himself, whom I desperately want to meet because he is clearly some sort of psychic-genius-otherwordly human, and I’m pleased he’s using his powers for good). Kafka comes from a truly messed up “family,” like messed up in the Oedipus sense, which is to say beyond the norms of typical dysfunction, while Nakata was involved in a mysterious, WWII-era accident that left him less-than-smart. The accident also rendered him able to speak to cats, though, and sometimes you have to let the bad in with the good. 

I don’t want to do spoilers in these reviews, because I’m not that kind of girl, so I will just say that following these two on their respective quests is not a waste of time. Let yourself fall into the rabbit-hole of Murakami’s mind. Definitely a page-turner, and likely a book I will pick up again on a rainy day. If you’re into a darker vibe, pick up Wind-Up Bird, but be prepared for the dreams (seriously).

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