I have just finished reading Kafka On The Shore by Haruki Murakami. Rather than just give a straight review of the book, which was excellent, I thought I would explain what it is about his work I find so compelling.
I first picked up Norwegian Wood as the result of a recommendation by someone with an excellent opinion on things that matter. She told me it reminded her of me or at least that she imagined it to be the kind of book I would enjoy. This was almost a decade ago. Since then I have also found comfort in Hard Boiled Wonderland, Sputnik Sweetheart, Dance, Dance, Dance and his most recent work 1Q84. Each and every time I take the move to get lost in his world for four or five hundred pages I find myself falling in love with the power of the written word all over again.
The incredible thing about Murakami’s work lies in his ability to force you to accept. In order to enjoy the beautifully-crafted worlds he describes you need to leave your logic at the door. There’s something joyous and childlike about doing so. To read Murakami’s work is to accept things for the simple reasons and explanations provided in the way children when running through the phase of asking why everything and anything happens will be given the briefest of insights. That’s what his writing brings back.
Without this acceptance there is nothing to be gained.
It teaches you to fill in the blanks. My understanding of what took place between Kafka Tamura, Nakata and the others is my own. There is no trite explanation, no big reveal, it’s all open to insight, philosophy and spin.
His work is some of the most beautiful and poetic I have seen, and given, I imagine some of this is lost in translation from the original Japanese manuscript, it is a real feat. His understanding of characters, of consciousness, of kindness and selfishness, of sex and longing, is so close to a revealing diary entry it makes for pages that turn themselves.
Each time I invest in Haruki Murakami, I know I am in.