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(2005) “A stunning work of art that bears no comparisons” the New York Observer wrote of Haruki Murakami’s masterpiece, The Wind-up Bird Chronicle. In its playful stretching of the limits of the real world, his magnificent new novel, Kafka on the Shore is every bit as bewitching and ambitious. The narrative follows the fortunes of two remarkable characters. Kafka Tamura runs away from home at fifteen, under the shadow of his father’s dark prophesy. The aging Nakata, tracker of lost cats, who never recovered from a bizarre childhood affliction, finds his highly simplified life suddenly overturned. Their parallel odysseys – as mysterious to them as they are to the reader – are enriched throughout by vivid accomplices and mesmerising dramas. Fish tumble in storms from the sky; cats carry on conversations with people; a ghostlike if familiar pimp deploys a Hegel-spouting girl of the night; a forest harbours soldiers apparently un-aged since WWII. There is a brutal murder, but the identity of both victim and killer is a riddle. Yet this, as all else, is eventually resolved, even as the entwined destinies of Kafka and Nakata are gradually unravelled. Murakami’s new novel is at once a classic tale of quest, but it is also a bold exploration of mythic and contemporary taboos, of patricide, of mother-love, of sister-love. Above all it is an entertainment of a very high order.