After finishing Mikhil Bulgakov’s A Dead Man’s Memoir, I found myself needing to move away from my beloved dead Russian authors to living and non-Russian writers. This took me directly to Haruki Marakami’s Kafka on the Shore.
The writing is airy and the story itself contains so many layers, wrinkles, turns that reveal unlikely connections, unlikely crossing paths between Beethoven’s Symphonies, tells of Odipus Rex, and Hegal quoting prostitute. It does touch on philosophy and the metaphysical, after all the main character is named Kafka. Yet, it was done on a very light and surreal level – perhaps something like a more sensual, darker and grown-up version of Le Petit Prince. Early in the book, I encountered a scene where cats talk and I was concerned this novel would go over the top too quickly. Yet, just like we readily accept the talking cat in Mikhil Bulgakov’s The Master and Margarita, I found myself doing the same with Murakami’s talking cats.
I have to say I’ve fallen in love with this book and found the ~380 pages a refreshing and breezy read. I’ll be reading Marakami’s Hard Boiled Wonderland next, once I’m done reading Gary Shteyngart’s Super Sad True Love Story. Not sure if I’m liking this Shteyngart novel so far. We’ll see.