Languid dreams and truths are weaved into one throughout the addictive and outlandish tale that is Kafka on the Shore. Haruki Murakami covers many themes in his novel, from family to prostitution, with Kafka the runaway teen and old Nakata at the centre, each on an individual quest that inevitably affects the other.
Kafka runs away from his father’s home, worried about the prophecy his father told about him, and travels to a small town and lives in a library. There he meets Oshima, physically a woman, mentally a man, and Miss Saeki, the broken-hearted woman who captures Kafka’s heart as both lover and mother.
Travelling in the same direction is Nakata, who travels without a destination. He begins his journey after losing his ability to converse with cats, following the confusing murder of a cat-killer.
The absurd plotlines and remarkable characters make this novel a favourite of mine, with Murakami creating a world that is both extraordinary and subtly ordinary.
Kafka cracks the imagination wide open, an action that broadens perspectives and fosters acceptance of the impossible. Dreams are thought to be impossible, distanced from reality through their origin in sleep and the fantastical. In Kafka, dreams are merged with truths, revealing how malleable reality is as it fluctuates to resemble individual dreams.
The earth slowly keeps on turning. But beyond any of those details of the real, there are dreams. And everyone’s living in them.