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Kafka on the Shore Audiobook

Kafka on the Shore

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Audible Editor Reviews

Haruki Murakami is the David Lynch of literature; everything doesn’t always make sense, but it's so compelling you can't stop listening or trying to fit the pieces of the puzzle together. Such is the case with Murakami's mind-bending Kafka on the Shore, which follows the lives of 15-year-old Kafka and an old man named Nakata, who might be aspects of the same person...or maybe not. What we do know is that Kafka runs away from home to find his lost mother and sister and winds up living in a library in the seaside town of Takamatsu, where he spends his days reading literature. Then he's suspected of being involved in a murder. In alternating chapters, we also hear the story of Nakata, who makes a living as a "cat whisperer," searching for lost pets. He embarks on a road trip searching for a particularly hard to find cat, traveling far away from his home for the first time, and the narrative suggests he's fated to meet Kafka. But does he? Oh, and there's also truly bizarre appearances by Johnnie Walker and Colonel Sanders.

Oliver Le Sueur as Kafka and Sean Barrett as Nakata both give hypnotic readings of the main and supporting characters. Le Sueur performs double duty for Kafka and the teen's inner voice, Crow, reading with such gravitas that you might find yourself leaning forward a bit with expectancy for the next line of dialogue or intricate detail. Barrett's deep, warm voice is perfectly grandfatherly as Nakata, whose uncertain destination and deep wonder at the world he has never seen is the lynchpin of the novel. Barrett's voice is a national treasure in Britain – having voiced Shakespeare, Dickens, and Beckett – and you'll wish he narrated just about every book once you hear how he commits to Nakata.

As Kafka prepares to leave home, his alter ego tells the boy that he's about to enter a metaphysical and symbolic storm. "Once the storm is over you won't remember how you made it through – how you managed to survive. You won't even be sure if the storm is over, but one thing is certain – when you come out of the storm you won't be the same person who walked in." That can also be said of any listener who chooses to explore Murakami's beautiful, enigmatic world. —Collin Kelley

Publisher's Summary

Kafka on the Shore follows the fortunes of two remarkable characters. Kafka Tamura runs away from home at 15, under the shadow of his father's dark prophesy. The aging Nakata, tracker of lost cats, who never recovered from a bizarre childhood affliction, finds his pleasantly simplified life suddenly turned upside down. Their parallel odysseys are enriched throughout by vivid accomplices and mesmerising dramas. Cats converse with people; fish tumble from the sky; a ghostlike pimp deploys a Hegel-spouting girl of the night; a forest harbours soldiers apparently un-aged since WWII. There is a savage killing, but the identity of both victim and killer is a riddle.

Murakami's new novel is at once a classic tale of quest, but it is also a bold exploration of mythic and contemporary taboos, of patricide, of mother-love, of sister-love. Above all it is an entertainment of a very high order.

©2005 Haruki Murakami; (P)2005 Naxos Audiobooks

What the Critics Say

  • World Fantasy Award, 2006

"I've never read a novel that I found so compelling because of its narrative inventiveness and love of storytelling....Great entertainment." (Guardian)
"An insistently metaphysical mind-bender." (The New Yorker)
"Daringly original and compulsively readable." (The Washington Post's Book World)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.3 (1876 )
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Performance
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  •  
    hermosa9 New Mexico 08-14-13
    hermosa9 New Mexico 08-14-13
    ratings
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    6
    2
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    Story
    "another magical world from Murakami"
    Would you try another book from Haruki Murakami and/or Sean Barrett and Oliver Le Sueur ?

    I've loved all of Murakami's books (except Norwegian Wood), but hearing this book performed by these superb readers takes the enjoyment factor to another level. Most highly recommended.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Sean Barrett and Oliver Le Sueur ’s performances?

    Definitely


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    22Wonderful Sacramento, CA 06-16-13
    22Wonderful Sacramento, CA 06-16-13 Member Since 2013

    Kae S.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Tiresome"
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    The long listing of mundane things makes this book tiresome very quickly. Maybe someone who enjoys minutia would enjoy this book.


    What could Haruki Murakami have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    Focus, dude.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    After six hours, I didn't like any bit of it.


    Any additional comments?

    Sorry, not for me.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    FredZ Mount Hutton, Australia 06-10-13
    FredZ Mount Hutton, Australia 06-10-13 Member Since 2015

    bemused350

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Not sure why it works but it does"

    After looking for something a bit different to read, I came across Murakami's The Wind Up Bird Chronicles, which I thoroughly enjoyed. In fact, this could be a review for both, because whilst the stories are very different, they both affected me in the same way. The Wind up Bird lead me to Kafka as I hadn't yet had my fill of Murakami's unusual, haunting and intelligent style.

    Kafka on the Shore is not brilliant or perfect, and there are many flaws (I think), but despite all this, the story grabbed me from the beginning and didn't let go until the very end.

    I liked the characters and found them believable, even though objectively they were all a tad unbelievable. I didn't find the story confusing, despite many confusing elements. Murakami leaves a lot to the reader (listener) to decide. I have my own theory on what it all meant, which works very well for me, but may not be even close to what others believe. That's one of Kafka's many appeals.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert Anthony 04-14-13 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Unique style, moving story, great characters"
    What made the experience of listening to Kafka on the Shore the most enjoyable?

    I loved the surreal style where you constantly wondered if it was supernatural events, or some kind of schizophrenic characters interpretation of the world.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    It is hard to select one. Kafka, because I think you can relate to his lost-ness. Nakata is a character you cannot help but love, especially his conversations with cats. Colonel Sanders and Johnny Walker are right up there because of the absurdity.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    The end of the book is moving but specifics would spoil it for those who have not read the book.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    K. Wing Redlands, CA United States 04-07-13
    K. Wing Redlands, CA United States 04-07-13

    I listen to audiobooks when I drive and when I hike.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    40
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    "I tried, but I just couldn't get into this novel"

    I tried a couple times to get into this novel, but I never got past the first three hours. My mind would just drift away because it was so slow moving. Maybe a story eventually develops, but I'll never know.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    wcfbrat MORENO VALLEY, CA, United States 04-04-13
    wcfbrat MORENO VALLEY, CA, United States 04-04-13 Member Since 2016
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    73
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    Story
    "Wow!"

    The story and the performance was amazing. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this author and the performers. I thought it was humorous though hearing a New York accent for a Japanese truck driver; very entertaining.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Pamela J United States 04-03-13
    Pamela J United States 04-03-13 Member Since 2016

    Sure, I'd love to hear your story....

    HELPFUL VOTES
    1289
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    151
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    Story
    "This book intends is to make us uncomfortable"

    This long, winding book tackles so many uncomfortable topics in such a mystical way it is sometimes like you're reading an x-rated nursery rhyme. You squirm your way through some difficult concepts that the author manages by not quite telling you whether you're dealing with reality, dream, or divinity. But each and every character is relatable and empathetic and as we move from one character to the other I found myself longing to hurry to get back, then melting into the new character only to be snapped back again.

    My only real criticism is the British narration that makes some characters sound like they're from Dickens, not Murakami. Even this is not enough of a distraction to prevent enjoying this incredible, but slightly mind-boggling book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jody airdrie, AB, Canada 03-21-13
    Jody airdrie, AB, Canada 03-21-13 Member Since 2017
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    "It wasn't what I was expecting"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    Probably no. It was wierd but not bad, just wierd.


    Would you be willing to try another book from Haruki Murakami? Why or why not?

    I don't know. There was alot of unimportant information that did nothing to enhance the book.


    Which character – as performed by Sean Barrett and Oliver Le Sueur – was your favorite?

    The old guy, Nacamura something.


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    No


    Any additional comments?

    I can't be to negtive about the book it just wasn't my cup of tea and I can't really say anything to bad since this is someones hard work. Alot of wierd stuff went on in the book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Travelling Pillsbury 03-18-13 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "50 shades of Oedipus"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Maggie McMeekin Arlington Heights, IL, US 02-28-13
    Maggie McMeekin Arlington Heights, IL, US 02-28-13 Member Since 2012

    I am a 27 year old nurse pursuing a nurse practitioner degree. My favorite book genres are: fantasy, science fiction, medicine and sociology

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "I love Murakami"
    Any additional comments?

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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  • Paul
    4/11/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Sensational"

    I downloaded this book in 2006 and it gets better with every time I hear it. I've heard it's three or four times now and each time I discover something new.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Padraig O Connor
    4/1/16
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    Performance
    Story
    "First Narukami book"

    A peaceful book that I enjoyed for the most part. Story was slow moving which was the point, and some chapters dragged on for a bit, but spending my time trying to interpret the events of the book is more interesting than a plot dictation 😊

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • velA
    ulv, United Kingdom
    3/10/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Dreamy.."

    I was unsure about this book but bite the bullet and downloaded it. There were parts i enjoyed than towards the end got a little bored. Narration was very good.
    It's a very well written book. Story line is good. But although it's a very long book not a lot happens. It is full of quotes. Spiritual or, dreamy I should say perhaps, events happen but not much. If you like a fantasy world and love quotes and spiritual things than this is for you

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Hungrychics
    Boston, Lincolnshire
    10/21/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Weird but fascinating"

    I liked this book and it has stayed with me. The connections between the charaters are still difficult to fathom even at the end of the book however I enjoyed the Japanese peace this brought to my ears. The sexual content was surprising but perhaps not of a 15 year old boy. Overall I liked the concept and wish we could really say goodbye in the way the book depicts.
    Sean Barrett has a great range of voices that really lend themselves to separating the personalities. He also narrates for Jo Nesbo books that I have thoroughly enjoyed. Wouldn't be the same without his voice.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • MC
    7/22/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Wonderful"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Listening to this book made straightening the house a pleasure; it made you feel nothing was worth being taken forgranted.


    Which character – as performed by Sean Barrett and Oliver Le Sueur – was your favourite?

    The old guy who talked to cats.


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Nemsil
    UK
    3/23/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "I just LOVED it!"

    I had tried 2 other books & couldn't get in to them so was beginning to lose heart with audio until I started this book. Combination of the story and both narrators had me hooked from beginning to end. I've looked up more from all 3 so hope to carry on enjoying them...

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Gwgi
    3/3/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Fantastic audiobook"

    I had already read this book and loved it. The audible version is excellent-the narrators are both excellent. I would highly recommend this title

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Mr. Samuel D. Clements
    London, UK
    2/16/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "enchanting. lovely voice"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    beautifully written, lovely reading of it.


    What other book might you compare Kafka on the Shore to, and why?

    no idea


    What does Sean Barrett and Oliver Le Sueur bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

    some readers i find their voice annoying, but these guys were GREAT


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    plenty


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Arrigo Lupori
    12/26/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "I liked the first half"

    Then it started getting boring, i only really enjoyed nakata's tale after a while, Kafka's tale was heavy with all those introspective details.

    A good book nonetheless, too long though.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Mrs Wendy Huggins
    Gloucestershire
    2/26/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Breathtaking adult fairy tale"

    I am so envious of you to be beginning this book! You now have hours of joy listening to it. It is beautifully written and narrated. I would put this book under the heading of adult fairy tale. Haruki Murakami is an amazing author. If you love this as I have, try IQ84 next.......happy listening.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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