Advanced Japanese Book Club // Next: アンダーグラウンド

What would an advanced book club be without its Murakami proposal?

海辺のカフカ (上) (Kafka on the Shore)

Author: 村上 春樹




English from

Here we meet a teenage boy, Kafka Tamura, who is on the run, and Nakata, an aging simpleton who is drawn to Kafka for reasons that he cannot fathom. As their paths converge, acclaimed author Haruki Murakami enfolds readers in a world where cats talk, fish fall from the sky, and spirits slip out of their bodies to make love or commit murder, in what is a truly remarkable journey.

English from M.C. Strecher in Publishers Weekly

Surely the most confusing of all Murakami novels, this one has three protagonists, each from a different generation. All suffer from some terrible trauma that has led them, Pandora-like, to open the “Gateway Stone” and enter the “other world.” Two return as half-persons; Kafka, the youngest of the three, confronts the metaphysical forest labyrinth determined to become “the world’s strongest fifteen year-old boy.” Its principal message seems to be that, if we cannot change our fate, at least we can turn it to our advantage.

Length: 496 pages (上)
Category: Easy+Fast


I could not find an ebook on Bookwalker.

Personal Opinion

I’ve read 1Q84 (in German, though) and loved it, so I’m up for more from this author.

Pros and Cons for the Book Club


  • Famous and modern author
  • Author’s books are generally well-received


  • It’s Murakami, so one should expect a fair share of weird sex scenes and other craze. That might not be for everybody.
  • It’s only the first part (the second part is slightly longer with 528 pages), so we’re in for a long ride in case we plan to read both.


First Three Pages of Chapter One

Additional Pages

Difficulty Poll

How much effort would you need to read this book?

  • No effort at all
  • Minimal effort
  • Moderate effort
  • Significant effort
  • So much effort my head might explode
  • I don’t know

0 voters