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Kafka on the Shore is the story of two characters, one an old man with a mysterious ability to talk to cats, and the other a young boy who runs away, obsessed with his fate. On their travels, they encounter danger and mystery, as they meet new mentors and navigate the maze between the natural and supernatural. Throughout their stories, they journey not only through Japan but through their own selves, learning and exploring what it means to live. In the end, as you follow these two characters' paths, from Tokyo to Takamatsu, it's hard to not get lost in the rich lives and personal worlds of these characters. Author Haruki Murakami’s Japan is beautifully crafted with a mix of the natural and supernatural, which turns the entire experience surreal. The essence of truth is obscured by the characters’ beliefs and what’s real is indistinguishable from what isn’t, leaving the reader to find their own story through it all.
Murakami crafts a narrative that's so complex yet so insightful, it's mind-blowing. Even when you barely know what's going on, you can’t help but feel a fundamental connection to the characters and the story. The way he explores what it means to be human, to love and to lose, is what makes the novel so spellbinding. Once you flip through this book’s pages, it’s hard not to be moved by the plight the characters face. In the end, their lives - as fantastical as they may be - are just like ours. They have to navigate through and deal with the same dull and boring mediocrities of everyday life, and in the end, their journeys are nothing but quests to live more meaningful lives and escape from the things that hold them back, whether it’s their past, their physical or mental capabilities, the limitations society sets on them or themselves.
Overall, Kafka on the Shore isn’t just a great story, it’s a call to action. It’s a convincing argument for everyone to live their life to the fullest and a reflection on what really matters. I can’t praise this book enough, but I can say that it’s life-changing and a must-read. - Nihanth P. (Sunset Teen Advisory Council)