Opinion: Kafka on the shore
The first feeling you get after finishing Haruki Murakami’s Kafka on the shore is akin to stepping out of being in a deep and delicious trance. Beyond the intricate detailing of events and characters, when you step out of the often-crazy world that Murakami sets up, you feel wrung inside-out, having been dragged along with the characters on their respective amazing journeys.
The most distinct thing about Kafka on the shore is that judgment is flung firmly out of the window from the first page. If you are the types who work overtime to make moral or any other type of judgments, this book is certainly not for you. On the other hand, if you love your fiction like if it were the best Tiramisu you have ever had in your life — multi-layered and mutli-flavoured — this is certainly the book for you.
The story has a pace that is quite unexpected and does not let off till the end and it covers grounds and cultures that is very obviously beyond what the Japanese isles — where the story is set — can account for. At the same time, it does not shut you out, even if you are not the average ‘intellectual’ and keeps you firmly interested and involved till the end.
The best thing about the book is that there are so many different ways in which it can be interpreted, but the overbearing theme is of a constant search for the self, which is the thread that joins together everyone involved in the book.
I guess that is what makes the book so special, that there is a little bit of yourself in every character, without it being entirely about you. The work stands equally tall, even when you don’t identify with it.
The only question that remains is if anyone would dare to make a movie. Rest assured, it will never be a commercial hit, but writing a screenplay for it and later translating it with a camera should be an adventure that very few would dare to start on.