Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami ***

Reading dates: 03 – 24 September 2013

I read Kafka On The Shore while in Japan. Without this context, I would not have known what pachinkos are, the significance of Lawson’s, the true smell of ramen or a sense of the geography of the country. I did enjoy the book, at least for the most part. While I liked the parallel stories (like Hard-Boiled Wonderland And The End Of The World), I was not so keen on the teenage angst angle (like in Norwegian Wood). I cannot pinpoint exactly what it is that does not grab me about this novel: perhaps the translation, perhaps that some aspects of the story that are too drawn out, perhaps the unlikeliness of some of its magical realism, perhaps the fact that it does not quite follow through (he could have done more with the Oedipal angle, I think). Murakami sets out on an ambitious enterprise and he has a very well defined style of his own. These two things are very worthy but somehow the whole does not deliver. It might also be a boys’ book, from the high praise of some of my male friends …