“Kafka on the Shore”: meaning and analysis of the book by Haruki Murakami

“Kafka on the Shore”: meaning and analysis of the book by Haruki Murakami Literature

The novels of contemporary Japanese writer Haruki Murakami are gaining more and more popularity among literary gourmets. In various countries, “advanced” youth are very fond of Murakami’s works, trying to find answers to their disturbing questions in books. The mature reader is happy to enjoy the subtle psychology, extravagance, so inherent in Haruki Murakami. The author was born in 1949 and is currently working fruitfully. His works have become a real discovery for a thoughtful public, opening up wide horizons for self-knowledge and philosophical reflection.

Despite the fact that his works often have a certain shade of melancholy, touch on the theme of loneliness and difficult existence on the mortal Earth, reading Murakami is very exciting and exciting, the plot keeps in suspense until the very last pages.

Murakami’s books are not easy to understand, they require deep reflection, reflection, but this is their main value. While reading Murakami, a thoughtful reader will definitely begin to think about his true purpose on this Earth, about how his actions affect others, and about how to change the world for the better. The work of this extravagant Japanese writer makes you wander through the labyrinths of your soul, invariably looking for something new and hitherto unknown in yourself. And capacious quotes from Murakami’s novels have great power and philosophical meaning, they are sure to make you think and reflect.

Murakami’s work is distinguished by an inimitable style, he very subtly describes the beauty of the sea and forests, his highest skill keeps the entire reading in suspense.

Kafka on the Shore was the writer’s ninth novel and was published in 2002. The genre of this work is more like a psychological thriller, in which the harsh reality is intertwined with the mythical world, and its characters help the young Kafka overcome life’s obstacles. The book is appreciated: it was awarded the World Fantasy Prize, and Murakami himself, according to literary critics, has been one of the main candidates for the Nobel Prize in Literature for several years.

In the center of the narrative of the work lie the stories of the fates of two main characters: the young man Tamura, hereinafter referred to as Kafka, who ran away from his father’s house in the hope of avoiding the prophecy given by him and the difficult story of the old man Nakata. The essence of the family curse was that, according to the father, the boy Kafka would cohabit with his mother and sister, who left him at a young age, and in the future he would completely kill his father. Here the author skillfully uses the myths of ancient times, transferring the times of King Oedipus to modern Japan. Driven by the desire to avoid this terrible curse, the young man leaves for another city, takes on the new name Kafka and tries in every possible way to start a new life.

Naming his work in this way – “Kafka on the Shore”, the author seems to refer readers to the work of the famous German writer Franz Kafka, whose works surprisingly combine the features of realism and fantasy, exciting the feelings of readers. After all, the main motives of his work are the themes of alienation, misunderstanding, contradictions, the accompanying guilt, reaching the point of absurdity. Franz Kafka himself is also not easy to understand, the feelings of his characters are unusually exciting and disturbing. It was from him that Murakami learned the ability to combine mysticism and reality in an amazing way, which he later skillfully embodied in his works.

By giving his hero such a speaking pseudonym “Kafka”, Murakami thereby clearly emphasizes his striking resemblance to the heroes of the works of the German author and all the experiences and worries inherent in him.

The meaning of this work is not immediately revealed. Murakami teaches the reader to think and reflect, coming to the understanding that after all, it is not a person who chooses his own fate, but it is fate itself that decides how and what exactly should happen. Any act of a person has a meaning, and it will definitely be necessary to bear responsibility for it. This is the main idea of ​​the work. In this case, it is simply impossible to avoid a family curse, you just need to try to learn how to live with it.

In parallel, the author describes the fate of the old man Nakata himself, who survived a terrible tragedy at a young age: together with other children, he witnessed a meeting with aliens. The result of this meeting was that he received superpowers, but in return he received a serious mental retardation. He became disabled, but, despite this, he managed to adapt to life, earning by being able to find cats that had run away from home. Everyone considers him eccentric, strange, but he lives the way he knows how. His main friends and listeners are ordinary cats, with whom he communicates as if with people.

Kafka, who also took the nickname Raven, meets many interesting people on his life path who left a huge mark on his life. He falls in love with the director of the private library, Saeki-san, but subconsciously considers her his mother. An intimate relationship takes place between them, about which the father actually warned in his curse. But as a sister, he perceives the girl Sakura, who met him on the road.

Saeki-san and wrote a poignant song called “Kafka on the Shore” as well as a book with a story about people who were struck by lightning.

There is also an unusual character in the novel: Oshima, a library worker who considers himself a man, but in fact is biologically a woman. He has to live not in his body and put up with this monstrous injustice.

Tragedy still happens: Nakata inadvertently kills Tamura’s father, and Kafka himself, in turn, at that moment finds himself lying in the park, stained with blood. Nakata, under the influence of otherworldly forces, opens the way to an unknown world, where Kafka also finds himself. But soon the old man, unable to withstand the tests of reality, nevertheless dies, and Kafka continues to search for his life purpose. Still, he cannot avoid the terrible prophecy of his father, but he nevertheless finds his own path, along which he now must go. He understands and yet forgives his mother, who left him as a baby, finds the strength to get rid of the oppression of resentment and problems, begins to live the life of an ordinary young man, who he actually is. It was very difficult for him, but, nevertheless, he was able to do it. In the end, everything worked out exactly as it should.

The book makes you think about numerous philosophical questions about the meaning of life, whether we are on the right path, whether those people are with us, and where is the one you really need and need.

The work teaches us goodness, the ability to experience, to cope with difficulties, and where it is inevitable, to reconcile, since no one has canceled God’s providence. Sometimes it may be worth letting go of the situation and accepting it exactly as it is, this is the meaning of human existence on Earth. Thus, it can be noted that the problems that the author poses to us are eternal, although it is very difficult to find answers to them.

The end of the work seems to be unsaid, requiring continuation, but here each reader should draw only his own conclusions. It is the very last pages of the novel that make you think deeply about life and death, your destiny on Earth. His last lines are: “I fell asleep. And I woke up as a particle of the new world”, they fascinate with their deep philosophical meaning. Indeed, what did each of us do in this life, what was right and what was not? Can anything else be changed? Everyone can only have their own answer to this, and Murakami’s work can only push us to such reflections.

I hope I have helped you find the meaning of the book “Kafka on the Shore”, as well as understand its ending. If you have a different vision of the book – write your own version in the comments.

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