Kafka on the Shore

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LordRetard
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Kafka on the Shore

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Anyone read this book? Anyone have any damn clue what it's supposed to mean? I was really into it at the beginning and that slowly faded as more and more I realised that NOTHING was tying together, and instead the book ends with a series of inexplicable dream sequences. I feel like Murakami should just rewrite that half of the book.

Thoughts?

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Re: Kafka on the Shore

Post by Lethal Interjection »

Forgive my ignorance, but can you give a better idea about the book? The title intrigues me as I've read a bunch of Kafka in the past, so I'd love to know a rough description of the book's plot.

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Re: Kafka on the Shore

Post by mountainmage »

I can't hear Kafka's name without thinking of HE IS FRANZ KAFKA! FRANZ KAFKA!
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Re: Kafka on the Shore

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It's not really related to Kafka; Haruki Murakami's a Japanese author who just happens to be a big fan of Kafka, and Kafka is the name of the protagonist (which is more important later in the book, but once again comes short of meaning anything).

BASICALLY, Kafka is this kid who runs away from home and gets involved in all wacky adventures, while at the same time an elderly mentally disabled man who can talk to cats is doing basically the same thing. Their journies are constantly inches away from each other, but they're tied closer on a "dream" level or what have you. It's hard to explain much without giving a lot away, and moreover it's all really, really difficult to explain for how little happens in the "real" world. The real shame is that the "real world" story made a lot more sense and was way better. I didn't really "get it", you see. If you're a fan of Kafka, though, I recommend his OTHER work; his short stories are quite good. I haven't read a good novel from him yet.

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Re: Kafka on the Shore

Post by Lethal Interjection »

Kafka's other work or Murakami's?
Because I've read good portions of The Castle and The Trial but it is difficult to not skip large chunks of those. I do quite like his short works, though, and had a collection for a time. I'm not sure where it has gone to.

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Re: Kafka on the Shore

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I recommend Murakami's short stories. I've read everything by Kafka, and I recommend it all. 8)

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Re: Kafka on the Shore

Post by smiley_cow »

LordRetard wrote:I recommend Murakami's short stories. I've read everything by Kafka, and I recommend it all. 8)
I'm a pretty big fan of Kafka too! Actually I've only ever read Metamorphosis way back when I was in high school, but it was still pretty sweet. I eventually plan to read more of his stuff, though I've got a big shelf of other books I really want to read as well *sigh* if only school didn't take me away from books six months of the year, but I graduate this term so this will cease to be a problem very soon!
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Re: Kafka on the Shore

Post by Sahan »

The first time i came across Kafka was when I was playing this game based off his work (it's quite hard and very depressing). I mean to read his books sometime, so your recommendations will add to my miniscule motivation. Any of his books you'd reccommend to start on?
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Re: Kafka on the Shore

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Sahan wrote:The first time i came across Kafka was when I was playing this game based off his work (it's quite hard and very depressing). I mean to read his books sometime, so your recommendations will add to my miniscule motivation. Any of his books you'd reccommend to start on?
Don't bother starting with his novels, they're all very weird and fragmentary and only one of them has anything that resembles an ending, so I think a lot of people might be uncomfortable if they start with, say, The Trial. I recommend finding a sizeable book of short stories, to get a taste of Kafka's work (that's what I do with most authors, anyway). The Metamorphosis is his most famous work and is novella-sized, and appears in almost any collection of Kafka. Personally, I favour A Hunger Artist and The Judgement, as well as The Stoker and Before the Law (which are fragments from Amerika and The Trial, respectively).

If you're into it, The Kafka Project has a bunch of english translations online http://www.kafka.org/index.php?english_transl. Project Gutenberg also keeps some works up. I prefer to read from a book due to my tendency to flip back and try to remember earlier parts, but some people like it. Note that these are not the translations that you would, say, find in a store; Kafka's work is public domain so anyone can translate it, but published translators are not public domain and so can be difficult to find online. These can be of better quality sometimes, although I haven't spent a ton of time comparing works.

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Re: Kafka on the Shore

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Sahan wrote:this game
Gwahah "They told me I had commited a crime. Someone must be telling lies about me." That's funny.

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Re: Kafka on the Shore

Post by Lethal Interjection »

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gEyFH-a-XoQ

Just caught this Onion story on YouTube. Very funny, and needs two viewings at least to pick up on all the little things in the signage and whatnot.

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Re: Kafka on the Shore

Post by LordRetard »

Kafka on the Shore is a novel that was written in 2002, and doesn't make a whole lot of sense on its own.

Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World (also by Murakami) is a novel that was written in 1985. It's written in the same two-story format, and like Kafka on the Shore, most everything happens in a "dreamworld". The difference is that this story makes way more sense (it still comes up short compared to most novels but whatever), and can be understood in only one read-through (whereas Murakami advised reading Kafka on the Shore several times to understand it). The plot is also continuous, rather than falling apart at random points in the story. In a way, it can also be interpreted to explain the plot of Kafka on the Shore, as well. Not wanting to give much away, but this is actually a good book.

So, why would he have the idea to take one of his old novels and rewrite it, but worse? Is this a joke or something? And why on earth is Kafka on the Shore more popular (aside from the obvious, that is, the title)?

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