Runners Who Read

Who knew? A bunch of runners who enjoy reading and discussing what they read.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Kafka on the Shore

Soooooo. Buddha told us one of his favorite books of the year was Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami. Well, as you might imagine, that served to pique my curiosity.

I'm about two-thirds through the novel and all I can say is that this is one acid-trippin' roller-coaster of an experience! It's a great book, a tour de force of human creativity, ingenuity, philosophy, dreams and passion. Talk about lyrical phrasing! My book is festooned with high-lighted passages and dog-eared pages galore.

I don't know if Murakami's other novels are as compelling and engrossing, but I intend to find out.

By the way - Ed. Can you give me the name again of the female poet you mentioned when we were discussing Mary Oliver?


Blogger Nels Nelson said...,,1753510,00.html

That's a link to an excerpt from a new story by the author. And for those who get the chance, Hanalei Bay is 1) gorgeous and 2) an inspiration for "Puff, the Magic Dragon."

9:47 AM  
Blogger Jonas said...

Thanks for the link. I'm beginning to see that Murakami has a distinct style. I'll probably pick up another one of his books sometime this week.

1:37 PM  
Blogger bct said...

Jon, the Murakami book I'd recommend is The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle--some of the same identity issues and mesmerizing Alice-down-the-rabbit-hole otherworldliness, but with a tragic historical counterpoint. One of my all-time favorite novels.

2:27 PM  
Blogger Jonas said...

Thanks, Bernice. I had my eye on the "Chronicle."

I finished "Kafka" days ago. I'll say it openly: the ending left me feeling confused and a bit David-Lynchy. Still, Murakami is a real kick to read. I'm intrigued by the combination of traditional Japanese myths and sensibilities, a pop-modern tone and a unique fantasy-generating brain. I found myself wondering how I'd react if I could read it in Japanese.

6:46 PM  
Blogger Ed said...

I'm glad you enjoyed Kafka on the Shore, Jon. Or at least most of it. What I like best about Murakami is his ability to draw you in -- things seem so normal at first, and slowly, almost imperceptibly, evolve into craziness. There is a certain flatness to his prose that perfectly matches what he's trying to do plotwise. Bernice is right; Chronicle ... would be a good follow-up if you want more. He also writes excellent, if quirky, short stories.

I can't remember the name of the poet I mentioned, but two other excellent poets who often display a similar sensibility to Oliver's -- although both of them are quite a bit knottier -- are Elizabeth Bishop and Amy Clampitt. Clampitt in particular is one of my heroes; she didn't even start writing poetry until she was in her forties, didn't publish her first book until in her sixties, and is now generally considered of the great late-20th century poets.

Glad to see people using this blog!

12:29 PM  
Blogger Jonas said...

Ah, yes! It was Amy Clampitt. Time to do a bit of exploring...

1:37 PM  
Blogger Nels Nelson said...

Murakami illustrated, duders.

11:46 AM  

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