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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Murakami to the Rescue!

I hate being sick.  It really sucks.  My nose is runny and stuffed, and my throat is on fire.  All I want to do is sleep or read.  The only problem is that my reading mojo is way off - I simply can't find a book that I want to read.  I've downloaded several and ordered a few, but nothing screams out at me - Read This!!  Its pretty frustrating.

So, I decided that I needed to jump start my reading mojo by reading something light - a chick lit book (my usual fail-safe fare).  Except that none of them sounded good to me.  And then I read an article about a man who traveled to Japan in search of Murakami's jazz bar, Peter Cat - he opened it when he was young (this was pre-author).  Anyhow, my mind got to thinking that a Murakami book sounded like the perfect medicine for my reading funk.  In fact, Kafka on the Shore has been calling out to me for quite some time, so I picked it up and fell in deep - just as I had hoped I would.
So, what's this fantastic book about?  Here's the blurb from the back of my book:

"Kafka on the Shore follows the fortunes of two remarkable characters.  Kafka Tamura runs away from home at fifteen, under the shadow of his father's dark prophecy.  The ageing Nakata, tracker of lost cats, who never recovered from a bizarre childhood affliction, finds his simple life suddenly turned upside down.  Their parallel odysseys are enriched throughout by vivid accomplices and mesmerizing dramas.  Cats converse with people; fish tumble from the sky; 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.

At once a classic tale of quest, Kafka on the Shore is also a bold exploration of mythic and contemporary taboos, of patricide, of mother-love, of sister-love.  Above all it is a bewitching and wildly inventive novel from a master stylist."

Sound's pretty wonderful, eh?  Well it was.  It took me much longer to read than I had intended, but that is what made the whole experience so enjoyable.  By taking my time with this book, I found myself completely spellbound by Murakami's words, creativity, and outlandish ideas.  I absolutely loved the character of Nakata and cried out when he died.  I felt so sad and heartbroken for this man, who had lost so much in his life.  As for Kafka, he was a determined teen set on escaping a dark prophecy that he just couldn't shake.  The people that these two characters met on their journeys were beyond interesting and helpful (all except for the vile cat killer named Johnnie Walker - oh, how I detested that man).  These interactions, coupled with some crazy events truly made for one addictive read.  And, its not just the quirkiness or the riddles within the book that kept me reading - it was Murakami's love of literature and music that mesmerized me (they are quite evident throughout this story).  I now have a TBR list to acquire as a result of reading this book.  And, I can't help but hum Prince's Little Red Corvette as I write this post.  Reading this book has not only inspired me, but it has made me nostalgic to days past when I was as English major.  I'm thinking of terms like bildungsroman, magical realism, and Oedipus Rex (Oedipal Complex).  This book had my mind spinning and I just loved it.

Not only was I amazed and bewildered by what I read, but I am now an even bigger Murakami fan.  I will most definitely read this book again and again - there is just so much to unpack, that I know I've missed so many things with my first read.  In fact, I'm still thinking about this book - I can't stop!  So yes, I would recommend Kafka on the Shore to fans of Murakami and fans of fantastical fiction.  You will fall in LOVE with this book and its author!  And, thanks to Murakami's writing, I am now in possession of my reading mojo and have already devoured two books.  Murakami to the rescue!!

5 comments:

Lark said...

I didn't expect to like this book as much as I did...but this book made me a Murakami fan for life. After all, it's not every author who can make a character who talks to cats so likeable (and memorable)!

Ti said...

Kafka was my first Murakami. I felt violated and loved all at the same time! Johnny Walker... one of my fave characters and Nakata...sweet Nakata. It was wo wild to start but right around page 50, I HAD to know what was going to happen next.

Nadia A said...

Lark, that is awesome and so true about the book :)

Ti, I loved Nakata!! My first Murakami was Wind-up Bird and I LOVED it so much, that I had to read more Murakami. But for some reason, this book really makes me want to read Murakami even more. I've only read a few of his books, because I want to savor them (and I don't want to run out of Murakami books to read just yet).

Bellezza said...

I love this book as much as you do, and reading your post thrilled me. I don't profess to understand every nuance Murakami wrote of, but I did love the characters, the writing, the whole mood. It remains my favorite Murakami. Glad you're feeling better! Trust a good author to have the power of a good doctor. ;)

Nadia A said...

Bellezza, I knew you had loved this one :) I don't understand everything Murakami wants to get across, but I just love the way he manages to captivate his reader and puzzle them in to loving his work. And you are so right - there is a mood to his books that is engrossing. I am feeling better - thanks! Dr. Murakami :)