On September 12th, eighteen years ago, the novel Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami was published. Today, we celebrate with some of the best quotes from this acclaimed work of fiction.
image via goodreads
“Memories warm you up from the inside. But they also tear you apart.”
Closing your eyes isn’t going to change anything. Nothing’s going to disappear just because you can’t see what’s going on. In fact, things will even be worse the next time you open your eyes. That’s the kind of world we live in. Keep your eyes wide open. Only a coward closes his eyes. Closing your eyes and plugging up your ears won’t make time stand still.
“If you remember me, then I don’t care if everyone else forgets.”
Most things are forgotten over time. Even the war itself, the life-and-death struggle people went through is now like something from the distant past. We’re so caught up in our everyday lives that events of the past are no longer in orbit around our minds. There are just too many things we have to think about everyday, too many new things we have to learn. But still, no matter how much time passes, no matter what takes place in the interim, there are some things we can never assign to oblivion, memories we can never rub away. They remain with us forever, like a touchstone.
“When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.”
When I open them, most of the books have the smell of an earlier time leaking out between the pages – a special odor of the knowledge and emotions that for ages have been calmly resting between the covers. Breathing it in, I glance through a few pages before returning each book to its shelf.
“Silence, I discover, is something you can actually hear.”
In everything, there’s a proper order. You can’t look too far ahead. Do that and you’ll lose sight of what you’re doing and stumble. You’ve got to look ahead a bit or else you’ll bump into something. You’ve got to follow the proper order and at the same time keep an eye out for what’s ahead. That’s critical, no matter what you’re doing.
“What I think is this: You should give up looking for lost cats and start searching for the other half of your shadow.”
But this is something you have to figure out on your own. Nobody can help you. That’s what love is all about. You’re the one having those wonderful feelings but you have to go it alone as you wander through the dark. Your mind and body have to bear it all. All by yourself.
“Intolerant narrow minds with no imagination are like parasites that transform the host, change form, and continue to thrive.”
Everyone of us is losing something precious to us. Lost opportunities, lost possibilities, feelings we can never get back. That’s part what it means to be alive. But inside our heads, there’s a room where we store those memories. And to understand the workings of our own heart we have to keep on making new reference cards. We have to dust things off every once in a while, let in fresh air, change the water in flower bases. In other words, you’ll live life in your own private library.
About Kafka on the Shore:
Comprising two distinct but interrelated plots, the narrative runs back and forth between both plots, taking up each plotline in alternating chapters.
Here we meet a teenage boy, Kafka Tamura, who is on the run, and Nakata, an aging simpleton who is drawn to Kafka for reasons that he cannot fathom. As their paths converge, acclaimed author Haruki Murakami enfolds readers in a world where cats talk, fish fall from the sky, and spirits slip out of their bodies to make love or commit murder, in what is a truly remarkable journey.
featured images via goodreads and the new york times