With Kafka on the Shore, Haruki Murakami gives us a novel every bit as ambitious and expansive as The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, which has been acclaimed both here and around the world for its uncommon ambition and achievement, and whose still-growing popularity suggests that it will be read and admired for decades to come. This magnificent new novel has a similarly extraordinary scope and the same capacity to amaze, entertain, and bewitch the reader. A tour de force of metaphysical reality, it 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. Extravagant in its accomplishment, Kafka on the Shore displays one of the world's truly great storytellers at the height of his powers.
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by Haruki Murakami
"The art of audio narration has rarely been better served than in Haruki Murakami's brilliant tale featuring two seekers of truth. Sean Barrett and Oliver Le Sueur recount the odysseys of Nakata, an old man who was left simpleminded (but able to speak with cats) by a mysterious WWII event, and Kafka Tamura, a stoic, self-disciplined 15-year-old who runs away from home to escape an Oedipal prophecy. Barrett and Le Sueur turn in superb performances. Their rich characterizations keep this blend of the real and surreal totally engrossing. Philip Gabriel's excellent translation offers a contemporary feel to Murakami's lyrical language and magical incidents. Additional kudos must go to Naxos AudioBooks for gorgeous packaging, including an enclosure listing the entire cast with bios. This is must listening. S.J.H. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award (c) AudioFile 2006, Portland, Maine"
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