Book-Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakmai
Published in- 2002
Genre- magical realism, fantasy fiction
The book has been etched in my heart for it flowed like a dream. I would use the word ‘tantalizing’ to discuss the book because the meaning and purpose of the book is elusive. Like Oshima, a character from the book, the book itself refuses to confirm to any definite shape or texture, rather stands on its own magic and is enticing.I was enthralled by the surreal topics broached upon like free-will, astral projection and yet everything was so subtle and left to reader’s imagination.
This is a book that defies what a story is meant to be, what a story is supposed to be like, and by doing it shows the inaccuracy of human thoughts and perception, and our quest for meaning becomes lost in the labyrinthine maze of language.
Kafka on the Shore is like seeing the world upside down, where the present reality and time seems sterile. It is like lingering between the states of dream and wakefulness, where everything loses meaning, and at the same time gains a sort of cosmic significance. Murakami overlaps the world of fantasy and reality so casually, that it feels real and ordinary – like it might happen, or is happening in some parallel world as ours. Murakami’s novel is a sort of twilight realm, where everything is blurred, and where sometimes the strange, beautiful, and silent lands of imagination comes true, and becomes visible to our consciousness. Be it talking cats, raining fish, the spectral KFC guy playing pimp in Shikoku, or unaged soldiers guarding a door to “somewhere”, Murakami’s characters breathe and live in multiple dimensions, sometimes successfully breaking the illusion of reality, sometimes living their ordinary lives.
I loved the subtle nods to art, music, literature, and popular culture in the narrative. It raises more questions than answers, because there is none, rather it’s an eternal search for meaning – like Miss Saeki gazing at the painting of a boy looking at the sea, in a different time, a different place, and a different existence. Every fragment of the past, present, future, dream, and reality is a part of one whole, and yet we’re all broken parts, and the real art of living life, the struggle, the pain, trauma, and survival, is about how we are going to assemble these pieces together and make ourselves complete.
Towards the end, like Kafka Tamura – “You’re part of a brand new world.”