The opening pages of a Haruki Murakami's novel can be like the view out of an airplane window onto tarmac. But at some point between page three and fifteen the deceptively placid narrative lifts off, and you find yourself breaking through clouds at a tilt, no longer certain where the plane is headed or if the laws of flight even apply.
Joining the rich literature of runaways, Kafka On The Shore follows the solitary, self-disciplined schoolboy Kafka Tamura as he hops on a bus from Tokyo to the randomly chosen town of Takamatsu, reminding himself at each step that he has to be "the world's toughest fifteen-year-old". He finds a secluded private library where he spends his days --continuing his impressive self-education--and befriends with a clerk and the mysteriously remote head librarian, Miss Saeki, whom he fantasizes may be his long-lost mother. Meanwhile, in a second, wilder narrative spiral, an elderly Tokyo man named Nakata veers from his calm routine by murdering a stranger. An unforgettable character, beautifully delineated by Murakami, Nakata can speak with cats but cannot read or write, nor explain the forces drawing him toward Takamatsu and the other characters.