‘Kafka on the Shore’ is full of metaphors about life, memories, our consciousness, our super ego. Where does morality begin: in our thoughts, dreams? Is it from this stage that our responsibility starts? What about memories? It feels like they give us substance, warm us up, give us the chance to project a future. Would we be the same without memories? Or would we be just some blank empty boxes? The blank slate metaphor carries on, charged with a neutral to negative nuance range. The blank slate doesn’t just ‘protect’ us from the ‘pollution’ of society. It also deprives us of love, warmth, sound logic, wisdom, morality. All these later emotions and concepts seem to be worth so much more.
I perceive this book as a huge narrative composed of parallel stories of the living, the dead, cats and the non-beings. These start developing as disconnected first, but then are braided in such a way that as the narrative climaxes, it seems that they even get entangled. Yet, they somehow find their way apart, smoothly, quietly, naturally, as if nothing happened.
They won’t ever be the same though. Memories have changed them. To some of these characters, memories provide meaning and substance, to some others, comfort and courage to embrace their differences and live their dreams. To our main character, Kafka, memories bring the necessary answers to carry on, knowing that the’ prophecies’ are fulfilled and that there are no regrets. To Kafka, memories carry on relief and through that picture, he will always cherish the so-much-sought tranquility. He IS the bravest 15-year-old boy.
This book also depicts our human nature as able to explore itself to its darkest secrets and passions, simultaneously pushing and pulling both – good and evil. These seemingly opposing forces can amalgamate in a unique way for each of us, and ultimately take the shape we give them. We choose the mixture proportions of good and evil, carrying it through our actions for a lifetime. What matters, is that WE choose them, in such a way that WE can accept them, making our existence lighter; making memories bearable; making visions of the future exciting.