By: Supriya Khadka
What if there were to be a world out there, albeit an unconscious one, which would be created by our imagination and fantasies? We might or might not be the main character in that fantasy, but whatever happens in that world would directly or indirectly be influenced by our life. Pretty interesting, huh? Well, let me introduce you to a Japanese masterpiece ‘Kafka on the Shore’ written by the master storyteller Haruki Murakami. ‘Kafka on the Shore’ is a fragment of that unconscious world bound beautifully with consciousness.
‘Kafka on the Shore’ revolves around two characters: a teenage boy, Kafka Tamura and an ageing simpleton, Satoru Nakata. The novel begins with Kafka running away from home to escape his tyrannical father and to embark upon a quest to find his mother and sister. Nakata, the other protagonist, is an old man who experienced a tragic accident at the age of nine, which left him in a coma for many weeks. When he got out of the coma, he had lost all of his memories as well as the ability to read. Two different characters in two different situations, aren’t they? The novel deals with how they are drawn to each other in the most unfathomable circumstances. How? You would want to read the book to figure that out. It'll be way more fun than my explaining here.
‘Kafka on the Shore’ is not just a book; it is an experience. You will be able to witness a world where cats talk, fish fall from the sky, and spirits slip out of their bodies to make love or commit murder. You will meet the most eccentric and the most admirable characters. After you start reading the book, you will not realize how fast the pages are turning. The novel will be over before you know it, and then you will begin wondering "What just happened?" You will be engrossed in Murakami’s effortless storytelling, and mesmerized by the splendor of his imagination. Despite the implausible state of affairs in the novel, none of the characters feel peculiar. You will be able to see a part yourself in Kafka and be able to relate to the turmoil he is going through. You will feel sorry for Nakata, and you will be rooting for him in the entire novel. The characters you meet through Kafka and Nakata will remain with you even after finishing the book.
'Kafka on the Shore' is a puzzle. The book unravels itself page by page, and you will see how beautifully the coincidences fit together. The book will give you something to think about. It can be anything; differs from person to person. You will notice that the lines between reality and magical realism are blurred. Do not worry about the blurry lines, just go with the flow and enjoy the story. Get to know the whimsical characters who are the soul of the book. Behold the beauty of storytelling. Explore yourself through this book. I know you want to!
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