The story is about a resolute 15-year-old boy named Kafka, who ran away from home and searched for his own life. At the same time, a kind old man named Nakata who cannot read or think deeply lived in a magic world with his own angle of view and magic capability. The two characters' lives merged at a beatiful and quiet seaside town, disclosing a long time mystery and some philosophy of life.
At first, the world described seems pretty realistic, with every precise details, especially the interview series of the dome accident, which caused Nakata to dyslexia. Gradually, elements of fantacy tinted the plot stealthily, marked first by the fish rain ordered by Nakata after killing Jonie Walker. Towards the end of the story, more and more fantasy elements are instilled to the story, to the extend that the main thread itself is in a fantastic illusion.
However, as the librarian, who later became Kafka's mento, often hinted out by asking whether its a metaphor or not when exchanging ideas with him, the story itself contains a lot of metaphors, which Murakami used to express the state and thought of a troubled teenager. As more and more facts revealed themselves, we know that Kafka was cursed to kill his father, sleep with his mother, and enter his sister. Living under the shadow of his onimous prophecy, Kafka never escaped the darkness of his inside world, not even by running away from home. To the contrary, Kafka indeed made love with his mother, but regained himself by assuring the desperate love of his mom; He entered his older sister, and received reliance and comforts from a friend; He murdered his father, even remotely, and not knowing a detail about it. It seems these were necessary steps for him to return back to a normal life and a complete self. These curses, I realize, should be a metaphor representing all the hardness exaggerated and darkened by the young and sensitive heart, while Kafka could be any teenager who first steps into the adult mental state and who suffers seriously the burdened confusion and self-denial problems. His realizing his deadly curses makes me feel that shunning away problems is a not a solution, but only compounding the problem. At a proper time, we always need to summon up all the courage to tride straightly across on them. There's a time when Kafka considered giving away everything, corresponding the desperate hike in forest. The love of Mss Saeki, nevertheless, pulls him back in time. After all the experiences, I believe he should be a real toughest 15 year old boy, just as everyone who overcomes his tribulations of growing up.
The metaphor used by Murakami is more patently shown up on the side of Nakata, a mentally disfunctional old man. Though not clever, he has the most soft and prestigous heart, along with unique surreal power. He cannot understand the deep and evil thought of humans, but he was able to talk patiently with any cat. He was forced to kill Jonnie Walker, who massacred cats to collect souls for his flute, and stops his outrage. Then he sets off on a trek to fix the "Entrance" and correct all wrongs. Jonnie Walker may indicate the cruel side of an adult world, whereas Nakata stands for the probity of the society and the expectation that everything should go right finally.
After reading the story, I can't help think about the state and conscious of my own 15 year old age. I was studying in small town junior middle school. Although I tended to earn the highest marks in terms of academic performance, it never soothed my troubled inside and my self-denial mind seems to stack me everyday. I doubted my mind, my capability, my social skills, my outlooks, and my future. I could hardly find out a solution except being eroded to death in a dreary life not known to an end. Sometimes by no reason, I just denied everything in the world, and only expect to grow up quickly and run away to another place, to seek a change. How hard it is to be in a half mature state.
Even now, some remains of the same doubts scourge me every now and then. The true maturity could never be achieved completely. And I have to live together with all my shadows and shortcomings. Hopely time could heal part of me, even not expediently. That's one of the reasons that this book could still grab my heart today.