Having read several so-called modern classics recently and been rather disappointed (Scarlett Thomas, step forward), I am delighted to have finally got round to reading my first Murakami novel and being swept up in the meandering, bizarre narrative.
‘Kafka On The Shore’ starts out as the story of ‘Kafka’ Tamura, a fifteen year old who has run away from his home in
What unfolds is a tightly managed epic, a sort of 21st century quest narrative that ponders the nature of time, of existence, and the power of music upon the human soul along the way. Masterfully translated by Philip Gabriel, Murakami’s novel delivers whimsical, baffling yet credible characters who seem to exist in a world which is slightly out of synch with the rest of
Great writers understand the value of focusing on the fine details and also on allowing the broad brush strokes to create atmosphere and authenticity. ‘Kafka On The Shore’ is like an object lesson in the art of the novelist: it keeps you guessing all the way to the end; it is full of beautiful descriptive passages; the characters are unfathomable but entirely lovable. Not since the first time I read Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s ‘One Hundred Years of Solitude’ have I felt so compelled to read a novel again the moment I have reached the final page.