Magical Realism · review


Paperback, 467 pages Published January 3rd 2006 by Vintage

Kafka on the Shore, a tour de force of metaphysical reality, is powered by two remarkable characters: a teenage boy, Kafka Tamura, who runs away from home either to escape a gruesome oedipal prophecy or to search for his long-missing mother and sister; and an aging simpleton called Nakata, who never recovered from a wartime affliction and now is drawn toward Kafka for reasons that, like the most basic activities of daily life, he cannot fathom. Their odyssey, as mysterious to them as it is to us, is enriched throughout by vivid accomplices and mesmerizing events. Cats and people carry on conversations, a ghostlike pimp employs a Hegel-quoting prostitute, a forest harbors soldiers apparently unaged since World War II, and rainstorms of fish (and worse) fall from the sky. There is a brutal murder, with the identity of both victim and perpetrator a riddle – yet this, along with everything else, is eventually answered, just as the entwined destinies of Kafka and Nakata are gradually revealed, with one escaping his fate entirely and the other given a fresh start on his own.


As most of Murakami’s novels this book feels like a dream. The magic realism and at points the surealistc elements make it a nice read for when one feels too stressed or wants to escape reality for a bit. My favourite character is Nakata, who at times might annoy you, because of his awsome ability to talk to cats and his truly wonderful personality. I didnt really feel conected to the other character, Kafka, i felt he was older than 16 even though i do get that this was a way for him to survive in the big bad world. Gruesome at times, violence against animals always makes me cringe, unexplained events and the possible incest make this book something different from his other books ive read thus far. This is a coming of age story for kafka and Nakata’s chance to fulfill his destiny and a sky full of seefood! I really enjoyed this, i would adivise anyone that wants to read it too keep an open mind.

Rating; 3 cherries,



  1. Like you I am a fan, albeit after only one book. This title sounds more challenging judging by your review. Like you, that kind of violence goes against my sensibilities. I’m about to read Hard-Boiled Wonderland And The End Of The World, so maybe this title later in the year.


    1. That is one of least favourite Murakami novels so far! The one you are about to read I mean! I loved Norwegian Wood and Wind up bird chronicle (if I got the title right).Let me know whats your opinion when you finish it perhaps youd love it since it appears most people do!


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