Title: Kafka on the Shore
Author: Haruki Murakami
Date of Publication: 2006 (first published in Japan in 2002)
Number of Pages: 480
Kafka on the Shore, a tour de force of metaphysical reality, is powered by two remarkable characters: a teenage boy, Kafka Tamura, who runs away from home either to escape a gruesome oedipal prophecy or to search for his long-missing mother and sister; and an aging simpleton called Nakata, who never recovered from a wartime affliction and now is drawn toward Kafka for reasons that, like the most basic activities of daily life, he cannot fathom. Their odyssey, as mysterious to them as it is to us, is enriched throughout by vivid accomplices and mesmerizing events. Cats and people carry on conversations, a ghostlike pimp employs a Hegel-quoting prostitute, a forest harbors soldiers apparently unaged since World War II, and rainstorms of fish (and worse) fall from the sky. There is a brutal murder, with the identity of both victim and perpetrator a riddle - yet this, along with everything else, is eventually answered, just as the entwined destinies of Kafka and Nakata are gradually revealed, with one escaping his fate entirely and the other given a fresh start on his own.
About the Author
Haruki Murakami is one of the most popular Japanese authors, with his works translated into 50 languages and selling millions of copies outside his native country. Since childhood, Murakami has been heavily influenced by Western culture, particularly Western music and literature. He grew up reading a range of works by American writers, such as Kurt Vonnegut and Richard Brautigan, and he is often distinguished from other Japanese writers by his Western influence. His work has gathered many awards. In 1979 the Gunzo Award for Hear the Wind Sing, in 1982 the Noma Literary Prize for A Wild Sheep Chase, in 1985 the Tanizaki Prize for Hard-boiled Wonderland and the Eve of the World, in 1995 the Yomiuri Prize for The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, in 2006 the World Fantasy Award for Kafka on the Shore and in 2006 he received the Frank O'Connor Internation Short Story Award for Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman. In 2006, he was also the sixth recipient of the Franz Kafka Prize.
Learn more about the author on his official website.
To learn more about Kafka on the Shore read what Murakami himself has to say about it in the interviews in BookBrowse and Paris Review magazine.