Kafka on the Shore is now the fourth Murakami novel I have had the pleasure to read, and I must say is quite possibly my favourite so far. To explain why however is somewhat difficult, for each of his novels have transfixed me with their individual quirky narratives and mesmerising style.
Recently unemployed, Toru Okada spends his time cooking, ironing shirts and napping. For a protagonist, he is rather quiet. However, when the sudden disappearance of his cat coincides with a plethora of peculiar phone calls, his life takes a serious turn for the strange.
From the ordinary to the fantastical, the known to the unknown, Murakami spins an odd yet compelling tale. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle is a story laced with thought provoking philosophies and mysterious imaginings. With a cacophony of characters, each bearing their own absorbing tales, some truly violent and unsettling, but all imbued with the strange nature that Murakami is famous for, there is ever a new surprise waiting to be revealed.
The first Murakami I have read, this novel certainly lives up to the erratic and strange nature of the authors reputation. Running on a theme of finitely detailed cognitive function, the novel follows two different narratives from its start. In one, the protagonist finds himself caught in a fast paced turmoil of company corruption undergoing a data war. In this Murakami interlaces the fictional and strange alongside reality, creating fast paced action in an imaginative narrative.
In stark contrast the other follows a protagonist caught in a dream-like town, confused as to a beginning or an end. It is in these narratives that the story earns the strange title Murakami has leant it.