Thank you Barry, Grace and James for your insights. I will add this book is not for the rest of our Audible colleagues if their literary predilections do not include:
a) cats being captured, drugged and graphically murdered;
b) elements of Sophocles' Oedipus trotted out in a sophomoric ploy to graft a motif onto a teenage runaway tale;
c) writers like Murakami when they say things like "what I'd like to be is a unique writer who's different from everybody else" and "the key to understanding the novel lies in reading it multiple times."
Really? I mean really?
The audio version comes in 3 parts, and I stopped for good early into the third, out of respect for how little time we have on this earth, and how badly in need of a much ballsier editor this "unique" writer's work is. The narrative is a hot mess, and Murakami knows it, but wishes to continue the ruse, given his existing reputation. Interviews with him reveal he may believe himself to be a medium or channel. Tut tut.
Story aside, performance kudos to Sean Barrett whose Nakata & Hoshino voices alone were a welcome break from the book's meandering miasma.
I am 26 years old, a nurse, and a big fantasy and science fiction fan.
Well, I have yet to listen/read any Murakami title and NOT love it.
Kafka on the Shore weaves together mythology, Jungian archetypes, the paranormal and reality, creating a surreal world that is much like ours, and yet very different as well.
I feel as though I've gone through the looking glass, and emerged fascinated, in love with the bizarre ways things operate, the strange ways things are symbolic, the relationship between life and death, and everything in between.
I wanted to know what's next through the entire thing, and even though I just heard the last line five minutes ago, I wish I had more. Not that the story feels incomplete, as it is quite perfect. I just wish I had more Murakami in my library. I hungrily devour everything he's ever written and can't wait for more.
Not one of Murakami's best books in my opinion, but still very absorbing and intriguing. The fantastic narration really brings his absurd dream-like stories alive.
It took me almost a week to finish reading "Kafka on the Shore." It is not because it was a bad read, but I wanted to take my time at consuming the story. I could had finish the book a lot faster, but after each break, it helped me understand what I read before and I could not wait where I left off..
By far, this book is well written, well executed and just overall good. I did not wanted the dream to end. It's just a brilliant read from start to finish and the fantasy world, talking cats and the family incest between Kafka and his mother and his sister(?), makes it to be a taboo subject, but they all come together so graciously that you just appreciate the mind of Haruki Murakami.
It took me a while on what should I title this review, but after writing this, the title just came to me.
A Gracious Dream.
I am now at a point that you can not go wrong with a Murakami book if you like his style. He picks top notch narrators for his books. The characters are rich in detail, the plots keep you guessing, and always with an abstract quality that makes for a unique experience. Highly recommend.
I've not read any Japanese literature and chose this book because of the reviews written by other Audible listeners. I was not dissappointed and am currently downloading other Haruki Murakami novels to add to my library.
If you have ever thought you're driven by something within you that is beyond expression, reading this beautiful story will ring bells of things hidden deep within.
I love the supernatural setting uniquely placing the inhabitants of the world Kafka explores parrallel to reality. The lessons that Kafka learns on his journey as a 15 year old reflect so much about what it means to be driven to action by something 'other' regardless of consequence, sensibility and the need to keep oneself safe.
The characters that make up the world Kafka finds himself in are at once porcelin and steel, obscure and recognisable, funny and sad, elegant, benign and frightening.
This story will stay with me, probably forever.
One of the best books I've ever read. Maybe slightly less refined than 1Q84, but still absolutely fabulous. Love the way the author thinks and writes. True literature. True genius.
That might be the point of the book, as one of the characters suggests. I would agree with most of the other commentaries about this book, and have not read other HM books, but after such an intricate and fascinating weaving of plots and journeys of each of the characters - truly wonderful and potentially heavy with meaning, I was disappointed by the lack of resolution to the stories as a whole. All those strands do not get pulled together at the end in any way. You are indeed left wondering, "What was the point of it all?". And I'm afraid, despite the beauty of the story telling, that is not enough for me. I enjoyed the journey very much, but I also wanted a destination.
This was my first Murakami and my first audible book. Before audible, I'd used one of those free apps with non-professional narrators with retainers, lisps, or russian accents that switched every chapter... And although anything might impress me after that, this really was special. The narration was perfect in each of the character's voices. Kafka's voice was particularly fitting-- he sounded just as sincere, pained, and thoughtful as the character himself.
As for the story, I'm sure it's not for everyone, but I LOVED it and can't wait to read or listen to more Murakami. There is quite a bit of symbolism and fantasy in the story that may just bug more straight-laced literal readers, but if you enjoy some literary stimulation like me, you won't be disappointed. It's not heavy-scholarly stimulation, to be clear, but thought-provoking and conscious-prodding.
I've listened to several more books since this one, so I can say with a bit more credibility now that this is still probably the best-narrated book I've come across.
I would not! Best title ever! Wish I were in a band of that name!
Probably, It was good to hear the Chinese inflection opposed to my English thoughts. As there were so many things going on, it's easier to listen to a story like this than read it. I might have not continued reading as at times it seemed it would read slowly, but the narrator was very interesting in changing pitch, tone, etc.
I loved when the old man talked to cats, met Johnny Walker, (who turns out to be the father of Kafka and has a normal Chinese name) the whole time of the old man and his journey of being simple minded due to having half a shadow, and as a gentle soul, kills Johnny Walker, as JW cut off cat heads in this pretend world. In the real world Kafka's dad is found murdered, Kafka wakes up covered in blood and doesn't know why. There is lots of symbolism, weirdism, great stuff in this novel.
I like the way he changes his voice, accent, the lilt and tone of his voice. I wouldn't read the way he reads as I am not familiar with Chinese culture.
yes, but it's impossibe to as it was over 24 hours long.