Kafka on the shore

Last week I spent a lot of time sitting, and waiting. Waiting
outside the operating theatre before, during and after Wife’s surgery; sitting
in the room while Wife slept; sitting in a corridor while Wife
underwent physiotherapy sessions. I spent these periods reading Haruki
Murakami’s Kafka On The Shore.

Kafka
I had read two of Murakami’s short stories before (in The New Yorker)
and on both occasions I was left with a feeling I still cannot put
clearly into words. Both were grounded in reality, and yet they
seemed surreal. The stories had a lightness and simplicity one
rarely encounters in fiction, and I found I could enter that dreamlike
dimension and examine its elements one by one, like a child looking at
the wonders of under-water world in an aquarium.


Kafka On The Shore
was different: dense, packed
with action and containing many elements of fantasy. I also found it
lacked the precision of language I had seen in the stories. I
initially thought it to be an issue with translation, but Philip
Gabriel had translated one of the stories as well. On the whole, a
fascinating read (although in some places – some “unreal” scenes – I
did not grasp the underlying metaphor which left me wondering about the
significance of the act).

Next on the list: South Of The Border, West Of The Sun (The strangeness begins with his titles, doesn’t it?)

5 Replies to “Kafka on the shore”

  1. nice post parmanu.. And nicer story too..
    I had read another story of murakami – ‘The second bakery attack’ which had a lighter feel than the ‘kidney story’ and was more rooted in reality and simpler.. Going by feel that the story leaves me with ‘the second bakery…’ left me feeling funny, light. the kidney story leaves me sad, heavy with longing…
    Actually if you like short stories u may like to get hold of ‘The Play boy short story’ collection. Real good names and real good stories – nabokov, marquez, roald dahl, norman mailer, everyone’s there..

  2. Loosemuse: While reading Kafka On The Shore, I was reminded of some discussions we’d had years ago, and I had the strong feeling that you’d love the book. Do give it a try.

    Lee: Now that you intend to pick up that one, I’ll wait for a sign from you before taking it up.

    Rash: That’s a handy piece of advice for would-be moms!

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