Wednesday, August 5, 2015

About Life in Stories..

I had come back from my trip to Prague back in 2011(I think!) and was quite fascinated with Kafka ( My childhood hero). I first got to know Kafka when I was 13 years old in the nineties. I think it was my English teacher or maybe my Nana who told me about him. The fairy tale romance of communism was fading away gradually around me in those days.  I read whatever I could gather on Kafka and in the years that followed. So naturally, my love for Kafka and for life was renewed in Prague. At the train station I saw Kafka on the Shore and was immediately drawn towards it. The book was in German so I did not buy it but the same day I ordered it online. It arrived two days later and that's how my friends I met Murakami. After finishing the book I called a friend excitedly to tell her about this "new" author that I had discovered.  To which she just replied "Moin Moin, You are awake, finally. He is the best". I was so oblivious to his stardom until that day. This book opened a different world of literature for me. It was engaging and definitely a page turner. Yes, the lines that separate fiction from reality are blurred but I think that's fair in a writers mind. Ah, the book had nothing to do with my great romantic hero Franz Kafka. There was no Kafka connection but I was kind of intrigued.  His style of writing suits me. It is exactly what I have always been saying that the stories need not have an ending for they represent a snippet of time.

Kafka on the Shore is a story of a fifteen-year-old bookworm who calls himself Kafka and runs away from home, partly to look for his lost mother and sister and to get away from his father, who is a criminal is his eyes. He ends up in a place where, among other things, he meets two very different women who may very well be his mother and sister, which doesn't prevent him from having sex with them. Quite Oedipal, I must say. He meets Nakata, a sixty-year-old simple man who, among many other unique gifts, can talk to cats. It  transpires that Kafka's and Nakata's lives are interconnected, which is sort of hazy until the end.  The way it ended left me a little attached. I had a hard time letting it go. I thought it was such a unique ending only to realize 7 books later that this is his pattern.  The world that he presents is always broken, chaotic, punctured, full of loss, stupid and scary and his characters are always messed up but they still feel perfect in parts. They have their moments. They leave an impression, sometimes for days altogether.  I like the craziness that his books offer. 

Ah and how could I forget about this book -  What I talk about when I talk about running. I have recommended this book to every runner I know. His books might be deep and dark but this one is straight from his heart and his love for running. The book touched me and reminded me of my love for running. I read this book and it inspired me to give my half baked idea of running a half marathon idea another shot. I had given up all hopes of running a half marathon.

Over the years I have read many of his books and there are some more waiting to be read. I will get there someday. There is something that I will never forget, my first takeaway from the very first Murakami book that I read:

"And once the storm is over you won't remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won't even be sure, in fact, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm you won't be the same person who walked in. That's what this storm's all about"
- Kafka on the shore, Haruki Murakami 

I hope you find your meaning in his novels too.


  1. I have only read Norwegian Wood and had loved it. In some ways it reminded me of Catcher in the Rye and my own student days. I'll now read his book in running may be.

  2. @MadeToMisfit: If you are even a little serious about running I think you should go for it.. Lovely book. You will find your connection.