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First Impressions Of Kafka on the Shore
Since the first reading schedule deadline is just about upon us I thought it would be a good time to start some opening discussions about the new novel. Thoughts on Kafka, Crow, the style in general, whatever. So far I've noticed this overarching solitude in Kafka. He barely interacts with other people, and has been doing so for a while. He only likes libraries and gyms, places where people leave other people alone. He has a bad relationship with his only family member; his father. All which prompts him to run away. He doesn't seem to really know what he's doing. He knows how to do it, but there hasn't been any true explanation of his future plans. I am curious to hear all y'all first impressions of Kafka and the story, please share!
I am only on page about 50 so I'm not too far into it but so far I am enjoying it and I am intrigued. First off, I am so confused on how the two story lines that we are reading are going to connect, it seems as though there is no connection whatsoever. The boy named Crow is also interesting to me. I am assuming that a it is just an extension of Kafka? Like an alter ego that is wise and helpful in situations? I have also noticed that it seems as though Kafka really wants to know his mother and sister. It seems like everyone he comes into contact with, he thinks oh this could be my mother or sister. He suggested that both the girl at the bus stop and the woman who gave the tour in the library could be related to him but like he really wants to know.
Yes, I am intrigued by this novel as well! I am really glad to have a book that I actually don't want to put down. I was curious about "The Boy Named Crow", he wasn't just "Crow" he was repeatedly, "The Boy Named Crow". I noticed that the narrator referred to him as an "omen", so I have to agree with you on the extension of himself, for the Boy Named Crow seemed to place doubts in the narrator, but also in the end encourage him, it was like showing us an internal conflict. It does seem like he has this strong urge to meet his sister for one of his thoughts about the girl was that she was his sister- he clearly has his family on his mind. I am looking forward to reading more.
@gil I'm glad you brought up how his name is "The boy named Crow", I agree that this extension of Kafka is important for his internal conflict. I also think of him as Kafka's imaginary friend in a way, the only one checking in on him. As if he has to create an alternate persona to take care of him because he had no one to rely on other than himself.
I am really fascinated by this book to say the least. I like how in the first few chapters, they started introducing the investigation that had occured. It left me wondering for a while how everything correlated with one another. I like books that bring up another part of the story, but don't necessarily connect it right away, leaving you turning the page waiting for something to connect. I also like how the bolded text in the book works. It looks like it represents some sort of thought or description of something important. Just these little things make me more connected and intrigued to the book, and I can't wait to read more.
@snowyyeti I think that it is definitely correlated to him as a person. Someone talking to him inside of his head if you will. I just wrote the last forum and I just realized something. The bolded text might be thoughts that are coming from The boy named crow. He mentioned crow right before he said something in the bold text, so I think there might be a correlation. Maybe crow is supposed to be there to help him decide what to do. But in the end of chapter one, crow said happy birthday to him. This makes me think that he might be more imaginary, and Kafka can actually see him, even though he isn't really there.
@bunkymoo I was too confused about the correlation between Kafka and the story of the children on the mountain at first, but I think chapters six and eight make the correlation a bit more clear. Chapter six tells the story of a man that can speak to cats (or is imagining he can?) and says that he was in a coma for a few weeks when he was young. Chapter eight tells about him from the perspective of Doctor Shigenori Tsukayama. Otsuka in chapter six remarks that Nakata's shadow is faint, like he is missing a part of himself (and previously, Oshima and Kafka talked about the belief that every person had two parts--male/male, male/female, or female/female--before God split each person into two), so I've been wondering if Kafka could be the part of Nakata that Nakata is missing. Like someone said, he doesn't really know what he is doing, he just knows how to do it well. He left his life with his father, and he could be trying to find that other half, even if he doesn't really realize there is another half to find. I may be thinking more into it than I need to be, but these are just some thoughts that have entered my mind as I read. I'm also curious if Crow could be connected to this idea in some way.
@nicole You bring up a connection that I never realized. The connection between otsuk mentioning the shadow of nakata and the conversation between Oshima and Kafka is an interesting connection that i had to think about for a bit. i do not think that you are reading too much into this. I think that there could be a connection here, that fate (referencing the beginning of the book and the sandstorm bold text) might be bringing Nakata and Kafka together. Maybe for Nakata to find that piece of himself that is missing, but I am not sure why Kafka would need Nakata or why fate would bring them together from Kafkas POV.
So far, I've really enjoyed the book. I really think it's interesting how the story is told through different perspectives and even through different means, the military reports, for example. I am also interested to see how the events of the incident on the hill and Nakata's story are related to Kafka. I am also interested in the Crow. As I read, I inferred that the Crow was essentially a part of Kafka, representing who he wants to be? As I read further into the book, the Crow was mentioned a lot less. This was interesting to me as he seemed to be very prominent in the start. Maybe the fact that he is mentioned less means that Kafka is becoming more sure of himself and therefore needs the Crow less.
I'm honestly not super far into the book so there's not a lot of insight I could give just yet but so far I am really enjoying it. I really love the way it flows and the confusion (for lack of a better word) that it brings in the beginning of it. It takes a while to see how one thing correlates with the other but once I really dove in, things started to connect to one another and I personally love books that do this.
@snowyyeti Okay so after I wrote that I kept reading, and later chapters make it clear that what I previously wrote was not right. Kafka mentions that he left the Nakano Ward, which is the same ward where Nakata lives. My first reaction to this was that maybe Nakata was actually Kafka's dad? But I don't think this is likely mostly because Nakata never mentions a son or anything like that. He seems mostly oblivious to any relationships he has, except for maybe a few cats. However, I still think it could be a possibility that Kafka is Nakata's missing half. In her letter, the teacher describes Nakata before he went into the coma, and he sounds a lot like Kafka: smart, quiet, never wrong but never volunteers an answer, etc. This possibility raises a lot of questions, however. Why is there such a large age difference between Kafka and Nakata? Could Kafka, when he somehow split with Nakata, have "gone back" to when he was younger? Did he actually live with his father? That seems unlikely when we hear Nakata's perspective. Again, I may be trying to push a connection where there isn't one, but I think it's an interesting idea to keep in mind as we read. I'm sure there is a connection between the two storylines that are happening simultaneously in this book, so it will be interesting to find out what that connection is when more is revealed later in the book.
@madams43, I agree, I am not too far into the book either but from what I've read so far it seems like it's going to be really good. The chapters dealing with government added some mystery into the book and it really makes you think. I also think the language in the book is a little easier to follow than the previous books we have read.
@xwing37 I completely agree. I felt much more comfortable with this book right from the beginning because it is written in a similar writing style to many of the books I have read in my own time. This has helped me relate with the book more and really have a good understanding of what is going on without making me feel like I am missing something like I have in previous books that we have read. I look forward to talking about this book in class and hearing everyone's thoughts and Mr. Chisnell's ideas about it.
@stella I was also questioning why the Crow was mentioned much less as the book went on. In the beginning I was sure that the Crow would be a major part of Kafka's journey. I think your interpretation of the Crow being what Kafka wants to be is interesting and could absolutely be true. I think the Crow could also be the person in his life that gives him important guidance and opinions, just as a parent would. Kafka grew up without and mother and basically without a father figure, so the Crow could be his fill in for this parental figure.
Ok I am actually so interested and invested in this book! The style of the chapter layout is new to me, and it seems to make me remember the storylines better. The chapters aren't too long where you forget where you left off, but they aren't too short where it seems unnecessary. The interviews with the people involved in children's "hypnosis" have been some of my favorite parts of the book so far. It is all just so fascinating, especially when the connection to Nakata came in.
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