What if an old, similarly odd and sickly man walks up to you and confesses murder and to top the oddity he tells you to watch out, for it would rain fishes outside. What if you are a cop? Would you take him in? You would not. You will let him go. What if you realize that it is all true; there has been a gruesome murder in the neighborhood and it does rain fishes.
Kafka on the shore is one such novel packed with surreal happenings till the end. The novel begins with a 15-year-old, Kafka leaving his home to never come back and is followed by his father’s dark prophecy. The novel chases Kafka in the journey of his to escape his father’s prophecy and also the weakly old man Nakata who has this ability to talk to cats is a finder of strayed household felines. In Nakata’s one such search meets Johny Walker who kills cats and traps their souls to make a flute. It is in this very meeting that he forces Nakata to kill him.
The narrative of this 436 page novel is dream-like leaving the reader wonder as to what would happen next. Simply unputdownable. Kafka labors under the weight of an omen laid upon him by his father, a renown Tokyo sculptor who tells Kafka that he is destined to murder his father and sleep with his mother and sister. All this does happen but in such a way that leaves the reader gasping for air and still not being critical and judgmental about the unfolding of surreal oddity in every page.
If you want to start with something that charges your subconscious and leads you to a place so surreal along with a novel that is mobbed with adventure, mystery and love, you should give this Japanese writer, whose works have been described as 'easily accessible, yet profoundly complex', and his novels a shot.
If you are looking for something that would take a strong hold on you and get you out of reality. If you want to read something that would just make time stop and you beyond time then I would suggest look no further than this book.
ONE LINE VERDICT: This book would stay with me and so would the characters. Must Read!