Title: Kafka on the Shore
Author: Haruki Murakami
A library plays a prominent role in the novel, particularly Kafka's thread. Libraries have become a big thing in our family, too. Our daughter (14) went on a job shadow at a local college library. Historically, she has been shy about expressing dreams for her own future but walking into that big building entirely devoted to books was definitely a wide-eyed, cathedral moment for her. We just got back from a family trip to Europe and libraries were a major theme, along with oysters and ice cream. We visited four in total: the British Library and the Wellcome Collection in London; the National Library of Scotland and the Scottish Poetry Library in Edinbrugh.
Music is important to the book, too. Nakata's disciple Hoshino, a truck driver by profession, has an unexpected love affair with Beethoven's Archduke Trio. Kafka listens to loads of different music over the course of his story but Schubert's Sonata in D Minor gets the deepest discussion.
Definitely a fun read and my favorite Murakami so far. The story is weird but not over the top - just enough to draw you away from realism from time to time. Not as much eye-popping prose as in Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World (reflection here) but I found Kafka more captivating.