If a pistol appears in a story

If a pistol appears in a story, eventually it’s got to be
fired. Anton Chekhov.

Kafka On The Shore follows the solitary, self-disciplined
schoolboy Kafka Tamura as he hops a bus from Tokyo to the randomly chosen town of Takamatsu, reminding himself at each step that he has to be “the world’s toughest
fifteen-year-old.” He finds a secluded private library in which to spend his
days–continuing his impressive self-education–and is befriended by a
transgendered clerk and the mysteriously remote head librarian, Miss Saeki,
whom he fantasizes may be his long-lost mother. Meanwhile, in a second, wilder
narrative spiral, an elderly Takamatsu Tokyo man named Nakata veers from his calm routine by murdering a stranger. An unforgettable
character, beautifully delineated by Murakami, Nakata can speak with cats but
cannot read or write, nor explain the forces drawing him toward and the other

A magical read.

From the book:

“Beyond the edge of the world there’s a space where
emptiness and substance neatly overlap, where past and future form a
continuous, endless loop. And hovering about there are signs no one has ever
read, chords no one has ever heard.”

For Kafka, “’Fate is like a small sandstorm that keeps
changing directions. You change direction but the sandstorm chases you. You
turn again, but the storm adjusts. Over and over you play this out, like some
ominous dance with death just before dawn. Why? Because this storm isn’t
something that blew in from far away, something that has nothing to do with
you. This storm is you. Something inside of you. So all you can do is give in
to it, step right inside the storm, closing your eyes and plugging up your ears
so the sand doesn’t get in, and walk through it, step by step.”

A magical book – not my favourite Muakami book but still a great read. Curious
about Murakami, the New York Times has compiled a series of book reviews for
Murakami – explore them here.

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