favorite books » Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami
Kafka on the Shore is a 2002 novel by Japanese author Haruki Murakami. Since its 2005 English language release, the novel has received mostly positive reviews and critical acclaim, including a spot on The New York Times 10 Best Books of 2005 and the World Fantasy Award.
The odd chapters tell the 15-year-old Kafka’s story as he runs away from his father’s house to embark upon a quest to find his mother and sister. After a series of adventures, he finds shelter in a quiet, private library in Takamatsu, run by the distant and aloof Miss Saeki and the intelligent and more welcoming Oshima. There he spends his days reading until the police begin inquiring after him in connection with a brutal murder. The even chapters tell Nakata’s story. Due to his uncanny abilities, he has found part-time work in his old age as a finder of lost cats. The case of one particular lost cat puts him on a path that ultimately takes him far away from his home, ending up on the road for the first time in his life.
Nakata and Kafka are on a collision course throughout the novel, but their convergence takes place as much on a metaphysical plane as it does in reality. Due to the Oedipal theme running through much of the novel, Kafka on the Shore has been called a modern Greek tragedy.