Murakami is the only writer alive who can snap his fingers and make me go all technicolor dreamy. His ability to create realistic otherworldly civilizations that capture my imagination is unparalleled. He also knows his audience, pandering to readers with the characters’ literary discussions and using the private library as a major setting.
15 year old boy (Kafka) runs away from home a few days before his father is murdered. Although hundreds of miles away, Kafka awakes in the woods covered in someone else’s blood, the night of his dad’s murder. Turns out, papa prophesied that the son would kill his father and “be with” his mother and sister.
We pick up the quest for the entrance stone with both Nakata & Ms Saeki. Nakata is the cat conversationalist whose search for Goma leads him to a man impersonating Johnnie Walker who claims to sever cat heads to collect their souls for a flute. Nakata is manipulated to kill Johnnie Walker, whose physical body turns out to be Kafka’s dad. Johnnie Walker then turns up as Colonel Sanders, leading Nakata’s follower, Hoshino (the truck driver who gives Nakata a lift, and then becomes his pal/sidekick), to the entrance stone after a tryst with a hooker.
Ms. Saeki also runs the library where Kafka seeks refuge. Ms. Saeki’s story involves her 15 year old self who’s trapped as a ghost in her old boyfriend’s room. She may or may not be Kafka’s mom, and they fall in love. She’s searching for the entrance stone so that she can drift away into nothingness. Her fiancee died thirty years ago at the hands of a student riot.
Oshima works at the library and leads Kafka into the cabin, the dark woods where s/he and the brother found themselves. Warnings not to venture far into the woods not heeded. Kafka constantly working out and becoming stronger.
Simply, yes. Yes. Yes.