Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Crows and Cats

I just finished Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami.

The book tells two stories, the first is of a teenage runaway with some Oedipal issues, the second is of an old man who can’t read but can talk to cats. Ultimately, their stories connect even though they never meet or interact directly. The plot, and the characters, move in unexpected directions for the first half of the book. After the midway point, the stories start to come together, after which the events are easier to predict, if not always easier to understand. In the end, not every thing is explained but the underlying shape of what happened is revealed.

In the literary world, this book would be described as magical realism while in the genre world, it would more likely be called an urban fantasy. In either case, the term describes a setting similar to the modern world but with some degree of fantastical elements. In this novel, the fantastical elements are introduced very slowly but turn out to be integral to the plot.

Previously, I had seen a play based on Murakami's work, after the quake.

I liked both of these works quite a bit. Recommended.

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