My friend is a fan of Haruki Murakami. She is so into it and I can’t help but become curious of Murakami’s writing. I read his novels in English. I first started with Norwegian Wood. Then when I went to Japan, my friend’s brother told me his favorite Murakami book is Kafka. So I read it. Its gonna be super spoiler.
Kafka on the title comes from Kafka Tamura, the protagonist of the story.
Murakami writes an interesting story from 2 point of view. From a boy named Kafka Tamura and an old man who can speak with cats, Nakata. This old man, Nakata is the source of my amusement from the book. Man who can talk with cats, a bit oddball and covered with supernatural events that occur around him. Murakami has successfully tied these two fate and two person and build a wonderful story between them (and other characters).
Kafka, who left his house prepared himself to live in the world. Maybe, one day in our life, we dreamed about running away from home and do what Kafka done. Kafka go to find himself and in his journey, he find his lost family member. Also, fulfill a prophecy that he violated his mom and sister.
In the same time, Nakata involved in the story and filled in Kafka’s role to murder a man. While he was looking for missing cats (by talking to cats and find the missing ones which I find very amusing). He find himself killed a man who kill the cats. I really like Nakata’s personality. He is honest and simple. He talks in a funny way, like a child would. He just surrounded by mysterious events such as mackerel and leech rain. Which seem to relate to his past and tied to Kafka’s journey in the future.
Mix of adventure, journey to find oneself, horror and supernatural feels make the story even more peculiar. Not to mention Murakami’s characters are always interesting and they seem to be alive. The way they talk, the way the interact with the others seems so natural and thus give birth to a nicely flown story. The cats, they talk in this novel with Nakata. One would imagine how cat talk, but yes, Murakami make a nice conversation between them.
There are memorable lines in the novel. One would expect in Murakami’s book that related to our usual everyday life. Such as “In everybody’s life there’s a point of no return. And in a very few cases, a point where you can’t go forward anymore. And when we reach that point, all we can do is quietly accept the fact. That’s how we survive.”
As in other Murakami books, its smells death and sex. The story does not revolve in suicide, as in the Norwegian Wood (if I am not mistaken, I read it a long while ago). I don’t understand why there’s always explicit sex in Murakami books and someone most likely died there. Maybe its the culture, maybe it is the seasoning to the novel. But definitely this book is not something I would recommend to teenager or children.