Kafka on the Shore 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 pleasantly simplified life suddenly turned upside down. Their parallel odysseys are enriched throughout by vivid accomplices and mesmerising dramas. Cats converse with people fish tumble from the sky a ghostlike pimp deploys a Hegel-spouting girl of the night a forest harbours soldiers apparently un-aged since WWII. There is a savage killing but the identity of both victim and killer is a riddle. Murakami’s novel is at once a classic 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 a bewitching and wildly inventive novel from a master stylist.