On reading Murakami’s works I realised that sometimes some writers’ works aren’t meant to be good books or bad books, there are some exceptions. Haruki Murakami is that exception in the contemporary world. When reading any of his novel, the vulnerability of reading a bad book is reduced drastically. His words, the structure, the flow of text, the plot, and the characters together make a mesmerizing mesh for a reader to experience. When I first read Murakami’s first published book, Hear The Wind Sing, I was astonished by how a writer can maintain the calmness throughout the text and let the reader feel that calmness in similar or almost the same manner it is written, while reading the text. There is never any hurry in Murakami’s books, and that is what I like most about him.
KAFKA ON THE SHORE is a story of a runaway 15-year old boy named Kafka Tamura from Tokyo and his sculptor-father who kills cats to make flutes from their souls. Kafka winds up in the provincial city of Takamatsu on the smallest of Japan’s main islands, Shikoku. Here the cross-gender librarian of a private library, Oshima, and its enigmatic owner, Mrs. Saeki, provide the runaway boy an employment and a place to live. This odyssey gets more attentive simultaneously when Nakata, an aged man, who considers himself ‘not very bright’ but has a power to converse with cats. Alternating chapters for each character, Murakami follows two seekers who seem to have nothing in common until they are brought together by fate or by prevalence.
Meanwhile, Tamura begins an affair with his employer Mrs. Saeki and starts realising that she might be his mother who renounced him when he was four. Whereas for Nakata whose attempt to turn himself in for murder is dismissed as simple dementia, follows a psychic urge westwards in the company of a drop-out truck driver, Hoshino, who becomes his companion all the way to Takamatsu, Shikoku. Here the novel’s two characters foregather themselves together unknowingly to each other.
With the end of the book, the author leaves quite a lot of questions unanswered. The question regarding his renounced mother, the UFO, his sister, could he travel in his dreams? Was Kafka schizophrenic? I am glad though, that Murakami leaves all the se questions to be answered by the reader himself. A different response to every query by each different reader. Mesmerizing. That’s what we all do. We have create different perspective towards a thing in our minds and continue to tangle with it. Right now, you and me both would be looking at a one thing but there is a lot more probability that what comes in our mind would be different. I think that how life is. Some things, some questions are left unanswered incidentally. We won’t even know that we both have a role to play in the particular situation or we both might be attached by the same thread that is going to vanish soon, unknowingly to us both .
I don’t think it is Murakami’s best work, but I certainly want you to have look at this. I am thinking of exploring more Japanese Writers whose work is available in english translation to cure my curiosity that if every Japanese writer has mastered the art of writing so smoothly and with an uncanny though gratifying calmness?
5 out of 5! Recommended.