Kafka on the Shore
By Dennis Abrams
Are you all enjoying the book as much as I am?
First things first, let’s catch up with Kafka:
Oshima approached Kafka, offers him lunch, and they discuss the great Japanese writer Matsume Soseki. Kafka asks if Oshima can find him a place to sleep (since he’s checked out of the hotel for fear of discovery; Oshima says he might be able to get him a job at the library where he can sleep at night; in the meantime, Oshima drives Kafka to a bare bones cabin in the woods of Koshi, warning him not to wander too far off into the woods. He leaves him there, promising to return in a couple of days.
Left alone in Oshima’s cabin, on the first night there in his sleeping bag, he is scared by noises and solitude, but Crow appears and reproaches him for his weakness. The next day, Kafka reads part of a book about Adolf Eichmann, to which Oshima has attached a note saying that one must accept responsibility for one’s imagination.
Kafka walks into the woods, stopping short of losing his way, and is jarred by how easy it is to lose oneself. After dinner he writes down everything he has done since running away and the next day, goes further out into the forest.
After three days in the cabin alone, Kafka feels he is growing connected with nature. On the afternoon of the fourth day, he is outside sunbathing in the nude when Oshima arrives to pick him up. They clean up and head back to Takamatsu, where Oshima says that Kafka now has a job as a library assistant and an empty room to use as a bedroom. Oshima tells Kafka Ms. Sakei’s story: How she fell in love as a teenager with the son of one of the wealthy sake distributors that own the library While engaged, the man went to Tokyo for school. Ms Sakei went to visit him and wrote a song for him called…”Kafka on the Shore.” She played it for friends, was asked to record it, and became a huge pop hit. The husband was killed during a student protest, and she disappeared for a long time. One day, shortly after her mother’s death, she suddenly returned to Takamatsu and took over the running of the library.
Kafka moves into the library, and the next day, while running the front desk with Oshima two “serious” women enter. After examining carefully scrutinizing the entire library, they complain to Oshima that the building is in violation of gender equality standards: there are no separate bathrooms, and the books are separated by gender with women shelved below men. Oshima tries to explain that the library has no room for another restroom and is understaffed, but the women accuse him of misogyny. Oshima fires back, telling that he is in fact a woman, born with female genitals (although his breasts never developed) and he lives life as a gay man with a male identity. The women leave. Oshima and Kafka sit together, Oshima telling him that he is sickened by people who act out of dogmatic certainty and who lack imagination; Kafka assures him that his opinion of Oshima hasn’t changed now that he knows he is transsexual.
Kafka reads about a murdered artist in Tokyo: the artist is his father, Koichi Tamura, and Kafka is terrified because the night his father was killed was the same night he blacked out and woke up covered in blood. Although he knows he could not have gone to Tokyo in that time, he wonder is if he is still somehow responsible. He reveals to Oshima his big secret: when he was young, his abusive father told him that one day Kafka would murder his father and sleep with both his mother and his sister.
But that night, Kafka is jolted awake in his room in the library and sees the spirit of a beautiful teenage girl. She looks at a painting in the room of a boy looking at the water from a beach, and suddenly vanishes. Kafka is in love but doesn’t know what to do. The next day, he asks Oshima to get him a copy of Ms. Saeki’s song on vinyl – Oshima gets a copy from his mother, and Kafka sees that the picture of Ms. Saeki on the record sleeve is a slightly older of the spirit he saw in his room. Kafka asks Oshima if a ghost can exist even if the person is still alive; falling back on Japanese folklore, Oshima says that it can exist if the intentions of the living person are evil. After listening to the song, Kafka determines that it has been written about the painting on his wall. The song also mentions knives, a rain of fish, the “entrance” stone” and the Sphinx (Oedipus’s nemesis, reflecting Kafka’s father’s Oedipal prophecy). He goes to sleep, hoping to see the spirit again.
And now Nakata:
Nakata updates and collects his daily fee from Goma’s family, not mentioning that the information he obtains comes from cats rather than humans. Going back to the empty lot, he is approached by Kawamura, once again babbling nonsensically, and a tough cat he names Okawa. Okawa says he has seen Goma, but is unwilling to talk about him. A large black dog approaches Nakata and demands that he follow him, and then takes him to another part of town, to the house of a strange yet elegant man who calls himself Johnnie Walker. Mr. Walker offers to give Goma to Nakata in exchange for his cooperation in a “game” – it turns out that Johnnie Walker has been looking for Nakata for quite some time.
Returning to the residence of Johnnie Walker, a dog leads Nakata to a large freezer, where he finds the severed heads of many cats – but not Goma’s. Johnnie Walker explains that he is taking the souls of cats to create a “mystic flute” to steal even larger souls. But, he says, he has grown tired of life and asks Nakata to kill him, agreeing to return Goma to Nakata, but Nakata “feels” that he cannot kill a man. Johnnie Walker responds by telling him that this is a war and Nakata will learn to kill. Walker then proceeds to murder two paralyzed cats in front of him, cutting out their still-beating hearts and eating them before beheading the animals. He then tells Nakata that there are two more cats to kill before he gets to Goma – Kawamura and Mimi. Walker kills Kawamura, but before he can cut Mimi open, Nakata attacks him and kills him with his own butcher knife. Nakata takes Goma and Mimi with him as he leaves Johnnie Walker’s house.
Nakata wakes up (not unlike Kafka) in the vacant lot with Mimi and Goma. He has no blood on him (unlike Kafka) but he does remember killing Johnnie Walker. And now he is unable to understand the cats. Nakata returns Goma to her family and goes to the local police station, where he confesses to the duty officer that he has committed a murder. The officer (not surprisingly) thinks that Nakata is mad, but he humors him. Nakata politely thanks him, and on the way out the door, tells the officer that he should bring an umbrella the next day because it will rain fish. The next day, 2,000 sardines and mackerels (love the specificity) fall from the sky. The officer is, naturally, shocked, and is even more shocked later in the day when a famous artist is discovered stabbed to death.
Nakata want to escape Tokyo by traveling west on the Tomei Highway, but doesn’t know how to use the train system. Although embarrassed that he can’t read, he stops two businesswomen on the street to ask them how to get a ticket. They get a friend of theirs, Togeguchi, who happens to be heading west, to take Nakata with him and then Nakata can hitchhike from there. On the road, Togeguchi confides all his secrets to Nakata who listens quietly. At a rest stop, Nakata hitches a ride with an older trucker who talks politics, and tells Nakata that he himself is a communist. At the next rest stop, Nakata has a harder time finding a ride, and after seeing some bikers beating a man, he feels the same rage building that he felt with Johnnie Walker. And then…suddenly…leeches???…fall from the sky. After the leech rain, Nakata gets a ride with a slightly vulgar young driver called Hoshino, who says that Nakata reminds him of his own senile grandfather.
Hoshino buys Nakata dinner at a rest stop – Nakata says he need to go over the bridge to Shikoku and figure out his next step from there. The next day, Hoshino arrives at his destination and tells Nakata to wait for him in a nearby park while he unloads his freight. We learn that when Nakata finished primary school, he learned a trade: traditional woodworking. He assisted a carpenter into his middle age, until the mentor died and the shop closed. Afterward, he invested the money he’s saved for his retirement in a condo project sponsored by his cousin, but the cousin lost all the money to loan sharks and disappeared. Since then, Nakata has lived in a flat arranged by one of his brothers, the company of cats being his only joy until now. Hoshino returns and, intrigued by Nakata, asks if he can join him in his travels for a few days. Nakata agreed.
The two travel by bus to Shikoku, and when they arrive Nakata is extremely tired. Hoshino finds a cheap hotel; Nakata warns him that he will sleep for a long time and, indeed, he does not wake up for more than 24 hours. In the meantime, Hoshino (a most likeable character I think) spends his time playing pachinko, drinking, and wondering why he finds Nakata so interesting. We learn that Hoshino was often in trouble when he was younger, often picked up by the police and always bailed out by his grandfather. When Nakata finally wakes up, he eats two days worth of food before declaring that they should go to Takamatsu next. But before they check out Nakata performs an extremely painful adjustment on Hoshino’s back, curing his chronic stiffness – a truck driver’s curse. When they arrive in Takamatsu, Nakata announces that they need to find the “entrance stone,” although he does not know what it is.
And now we see the two narratives beginning to come together: and not only geographically. The periods of unconsciousness. Rage. The rain of fishes and the “entrance stone” from the song “Kafka on the Shore” actually taking place in Nakata’s narrative. And…is “Johnnie Walker” Kafka’s father?
Some favorite things:
“But people need to cling to something,” Oshima says. “They have to. You’re doing the same, even though you don’t realize it. It’s like Goethe said: Everything’s a metaphor.”
And if you’d like to hear Brendel playing Schubert’s Piano Sonata in D (one of my favorite pieces) click here.
“That’s why I like to listen to Schubert while I’m driving. Like I said, it’s because all the performances are imperfect. A dense, artistic kind of imperfection stimulates your consciousness, keeps you alert. If I listen to some utterly perfect performance of an utterly perfect piece while I’m driving, I might want to close my eyes and die right then and there. But listening to the D major, I can feel the limits of what a human is capable of – that a certain type of perfection can only be realized through a limitless accumulation of the imperfect. And personally, I find that encouraging. Do you know what I’m getting at?”
Oshima’s note on Eichmann: “Our responsibility begins with the power to imagine. It’s just like Yeats said: ‘In dreams begin responsibilities.’ Flip this around and you could say that where there’s no power to imagine, no responsibility can arise. Just like we see with Eichmann.” (Of course, as Proust said: “If a little dreaming is dangerous, the cure for it is not to dream less but to dream more, to dream all the time.”
Kafka’s sudden fear when he’s briefly “lost” outside the cabin. “Just like Crow said, the world’s filled with things I don’t know about.”
Chapter 16 is brilliant but too painful to excerpt from. But the parallels between Johnnie Walker and Eichmann are all too clear: the rules must be followed.
Oshima will be a part of the library. What does that mean?
On turning-points in stories: “That’s how stories happen – with a turning point, an unexpected twist. There’s only one kind of happiness, but misfortune comes in all shapes and sizes. It’s like Tolstoy said. Happiness is an allegory, unhappiness a story.”
Oshima again: “Kafka, in everybody’s life there’s a point of no return. And in a very few cases, a point where you can’t go forward anymore. And when we reach that point, all we can do is quietly accept the fact. That’s how we survive.”
Nakata is so amenable – he has so many “favorites.”
The comedy of the rain of mackerels and sardines.
Oshima’s revelation; Kafka’s acceptance. “But there’s one thing I want you to remember, Kafka. These are exactly the kind of people who murdered Miss Saeki’s childhood sweetheart. Narrow minds devoid of imagination. Intolerance, theories cut off from reality, empty terminology, usurped ideals, inflexible systems. Those are the things that really frighten me. What I absolutely fear and loathe. Of course it’s important to know what’s right and what’s wrong. Individual errors in judgment can usually be corrected. As long as you have the courage to admit mistakes, things can be turned around. But intolerant, narrow minds with no imaginations are like parasites that transform the host, change form, and continue to thrive. They’re a lost cause, and I don’t want anyone like that coming in here.”
Nakata’s journey, the people he meets, Mr. Hagita buys him eel. FINALLY!
Leeches??? Why leeches?
Could Kafka have killed, directly or…indirectly his father?
“And the sense of tragedy – according to Aristotle – comes, ironically enough, not from the protagonist’s weak points but from his good qualities. Do you know what I’m getting at? People are driven into tragedy not by their defects but by their virtues. Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex being a great example. Oedipus is drawn into tragedy not because of laziness or stupidity, but because of his courage and honesty. So an inevitable irony results.”
Kafka reveals his father’s prophecy. His sense of being polluted.
Kafka’s father: “A theory is a battlefield in your head.”
Nakata’s truck driver Hoshino. His lack of awareness of World War II: “A long time ago I lived in Yamanashi. During the war.’ “No kidding,” the driver said. “Which war was that?” And…”Japan was occupied by the Americans back then. The seashore at Enoshima was filed with American soldiers.” “You’ve gotta be kidding.” “No, I’m not kidding.” “”Come on,” Hoshino said, “Japan was never occupied by America.” And when Nakata tried to explain what he knows, “Yeah? Whatever…I told you I don’t like long stories.”
The Tale of Genji and living spirits. Oshima again: “In Murasaki Shhikibu’s time living spirits were both a grotesque phenomenon and a natural condition of the human heart that was right there with them. People of that period probably couldn’t conceive of these two types of darkness as separate from each other. But today things are different. The darkness in the outside world has vanished, but the darkness in our hearts remain, virtually unchanged. Just like an iceberg, what we label the ego or consciousness is, for the most part, sunk in darkness. And that estrangement sometimes creates a deep contradiction or confusion within us.”
Nakata’s “memories” of the sea.
The lyrics of Kafka on the Shore:
You sit at the edge of the world,
I am in a crater that’s no more (when Kafka saw the spirit, he felt like they’d sunk into a crater lake.)
Words without letters.
Standing in the shadow of the door.
The moon shines down on a sleeping lizard,
Little fish rain down from the sky,
Outside the window there are soldiers,
steeling themselves to die.
Kafka sits in a chair by the shore,
Thinking of the pendulum that moves the world, it seems.
When your heart is closed,
The shadow of the unmoving Sphinx,
Becomes a knife that pierces your dreams.
The drowning girl’s fingers
Search for the entrance stone, and more.
Lifting the hem of her azure dress.
She gazes – at Kafka on the shore.
Is the entire book in that song?
And from Jay Rubin:
“This old man, Nakata, is the main protagonist of the story in the even-numbered chapters (which are narrated in the third person and the past tense). He does not enter the action at his present age, however, until Chapter 6, when we find him in a Tokyo neighborhood talking to the local cats. He is a gentle old fellow beloved by the residents of the district for his uncanny ability to find missing cats, though no one realizes he can actually understand their speech. Chapters, 2, 4, 8, and 12 provide background material suggesting (but never really explaining) how he got that way in his childhood.
Those chapters drop back to 1946 and 1972 to provide written testimony concerning mysterious events that occurred in rural Yamanashi Province in 1944, the penultimate year of the Second World War. A 26-year-old woman named Setsuko Okamochi testifies to Allied occupation authorities that she was guiding a group of schoolchildren on a hike in the hills when something (possibly involving an American warplane) caused all the children to pass out. All but one of them, a nine-year-old boy named Nakata, came out of their swoon unscathed, but Nakata spent three weeks in a coma and was so severely affected that he lost the ability to read and write, and his memory and capacity for learning were nearly nonexistent thereafter. The teacher’s follow-up letter of 1972, addressed to a Tokyo psychologist who had been an expert witness in the case, reveals that the carefully compiled documents those comprise those earlier chapters had been based on her false testimony. In fact, she had had a wildly erotic dream the night before that brought on a premature menstrual flow during her outing with the children, and she used a towel to stanch the unusually heavy rush of blood. When the children went into the woods to hunt for mushrooms, the Nakata boy came out holding the bloody towel, and she was so mortified and filled with sexual guilt that she beat him into unconsciousness. The other children were so shocked by the spectacle that they went into a group swoon and conveniently forgot everything that had happened.
Nakata’s mental strangeness, then, began with blood and erotically tinged violence. And although he is a sweet, simple soul, his killing of Kafka’s father (if that is what it is) is a horrendously violent and bloody scene. In fact, coming as it does after several chapters looking back to the Second World War and after Kafka’s reading (in the other extermination of course) of a book about Adolph Eichmann’s bureaucratically brilliant extermination of the Jews, this chapter (16) is a searingly visceral demonstration of the impossibility of ending violence with violence. In a move that perhaps only Murakami could have pulled off, it raises the intensity of hits unspoken – but intensely felt – message by introducing the reader to talking cats.
This business about the talking cats, plus the note of doubt in the previous paragraph, questioning whether what we take to be Nakata’s killing of Kafka’s father really is that, need some explaining. When he first enters the action at his present age of 60 plus, Nakata is really just talking to a cat, the first of several with which he communes, speaking in his special stilted style. Chapter 6 begins:
“Hello there,” the old man called out.
The large, elderly black tomcat raised its head a fraction and wearily returned the greeting in a low voice.
“A very nice spell of weather we’re having.”
“Um,” the cat said.
“Not a cloud in the sky.”
“…for the time being.”
“Is the weather going to take a turn for the worse, then?”
If anything, the cat speaks more naturally than Nakata, whose idiosyncratic speaking style is one of the most widely admired features of the novel. He rarely uses personal pronouns to refer to himself, for example: he calls himself ‘Nakata.’ He is a gently comical character (in contrast to the deadly serious Kafka, who rarely smiles in the book), and the many scenes involving cat talk are sweet and amusing. Given the third-person narrative and the lack of intrusive commentary by the narrator, however, there is nothing to call into question the reality of the cat’s talk. We are not seeing the world through Nakata’s eyes, and the seeming objectivity forces us either to accept the reality of what is presented or to throw up our hands in exasperation. Murakami never flinches as he brings on a cast of highly individualized cats, including the lovely Siamese Mimi (names for La Boheme’s heroine, she lives in a house with a cream-colored BMW 530 parked out front) and the well-meaning Kawamura-san, whose ineptness with language produces hilarious nonsense (‘I don’t mind at all, the tallest of heads.’)
Nakata has been commissioned by a neighborhood lady to find a missing cat called ‘Goma,’ but Mimi tells him the other cats think a local cat-catcher has got her. Several more cats have been captured recently by this “bad person.” When the naïve Nakata can’t imagine what such a person would do with snatched cats, Mimi enlightens him regarding the various scientific, musical instrument and gourmet possibilities, plus torture for its own sake, because “there are twisted people like that in this world.” She describes the cat-catcher as being very tall, wearing a strange tall hat and long leather boots. She also warns Nakata that he is an extremely dangerous man, adding, “This world is a terribly violent place. And nobody can escape the violence. Please keep that in mind.”
Nakata, however, cannot fully grasp what she means, though he is soon to find out. His fuddled, innocent mind is not much different from those of the placid souls living in peaceful democratic societies unaware that violence can attack them at any moment – in the form of Aum-style terrorism or the forces of nature or the intrusions of a self-righteous right-wing government. Nakata feels he has nothing to fear from the cat-catcher because he himself ‘was a person, not a cat.’ In retrospect, however, this recalls the famous words attributed to German pastor Martin Niemoller (1892-1984): ‘In Germany they first came for the Communists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn’t speak up because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me, and by that time no one was left to speak up.’
The one who ‘comes for’ Nakata is a big, black dog with bloodstains and chunks of flesh on his fangs. He guides Nakata to an old-fashioned house in an unfamiliar house in an unfamiliar neighborhood, and Nakata begins to feel uneasy. The dog shows him into a dark reception room or study, which could be the same room where Kafka took 400,000 yen of his father’s money from a drawer. The tall man sitting in the shadows of this room, however, cannot possibly be Kafka’s father, the famous sculptor Koichi Tamura. His clothing comes straight out of nineteenth-century Europe. He wears a black silk top hat, a long-skirted, tight-fitting red jacket over a black waistcoat, flesh-tight white trousers and long black boots. His left hand grips a black walking stick with decorative gold knob.
‘You know who I am,’ I assume?,’ he says to Nakata and is disappointed with Nakata’s negative reply. He then strikes the pose of a man jauntily striding down the street, but still Nakata has no idea who he is. “Perhaps you’re not a whiskey drinker, then,’ he says, and Nakata affirms the accuracy of this observation.
The man gives up and reveals his identity to Nakata: he is Johnnie Walker, the whisky icon. This still means nothing to the illiterate, non-drinking Nakata, but by this time, most readers are probably open-mouthed in amazement. Johnnie Walker?! What is he doing in this book? As if this itself were not shocking enough, Johnnie Walker has the dog guide Nakata to the kitchen, where he finds a freezer full of decapitated cats’ heads. Back in the study Johnnie Walker congratulates Nakata on the good timing of his arrival: Johnnie Walker says he is about to harvest a new crop of cats’ heads, and among them will be Goma, the young female cat Nakata has been hired to find. If, however, Nakata will do Johnnie Walker the favor of killing him, Goma will be allowed to escape unharmed. ‘First you fear me. Then you hate me. And finally you kill me,” he says.
‘But why – why ask me?’ Nakata asks. ‘Nakata’s never ever killed anyone before. It’s not the kind of thing I’m any good at,’ Johnnie Walker replies:
‘I know. You’ve never killed anyone, and don’t want to. But listen to me – there are times in life when those kinds of excuses don’t cut it any more. Situations when nobody cares whether you’re suited for the task at hand or not. I need you to understand that. For instance, it happens in war. Do you know what war is?’
‘Yes, I do. There was a big war going on when Nakata was born, I heard about it.’
‘When a war starts people are forced to become soldiers. They carry guns and go to the front lines and have to kill soldiers on the other side. As many as they possibly can. Nobody cares whether you like killing other people or not. It’s just something you have to do. Otherwise you’re the one who gets killed.’ Johnnie Walker pointed his index finger at Nakata’s chest. ‘Bang!’ he said. ‘Human history in a nutshell.’
Johnnie Walker demands that Nakata make up his mind to kill him immediately. ‘The knack to killing someone, Mr. Nakata is not to hesitate. Focus your prejudice and execute it swiftly.’ He then begins pulling cats out of a leather case one at a time, eviscerating them, and yanking out and eating their still-beating hearts. Goma will be the last one, he says. Like Adolph Eichmann, Johnnie Walker works methodically, but with an added touch: he whistles ‘Heigh-Ho!’ like Disney’s Seven Dwarfs. Nakata does not know the first cat, but the horror rises as his friends begin to emerge from the case. Suddenly the killing takes on a highly personalized aspect. This is no longer the disposal of faceless victims by an anonymous Kafkaesque machine but the slaughter of recognizable individuals. Now we know why Murakami let us become so intimately acquainted with his varied cast of cat characters. Those sweet, silly chapters prepared us to share Nakata’s horror. First comes Kawamura, the cutely mixed-up speaker. Nakata has been feeling something inside him changing, but still he cannot bring himself to kill Johnnie Walker before he kills Kawamura and savors his heart. Will Nakata kill to stop the killing? And if so, what will he gain? ‘This is war,’ Johnnie Walker reminds him. Then he pulls Mimi out of the bag.
‘Johnnie Walker,’ Nakata groans. ‘Please, stop it. If you don’t Nakata’s going to go crazy. I don’t feel myself any more.’
Johnnie Walker answers calmly. ‘So, you’re no longer yourself…That’s very important, Mr. Nakata. A person not being himself any more.’
Now it is time for even the gentle Nakata to act. He snatches up a large knife and plunges it into Johnnie Walker’s stomach and then his heart. Johnnie Walker laughs aloud, coughs up the cats’ hearts he has just eaten, and collapses at Nakata’s feet. Everything and everyone are smeared with blood. Gathering up Mimi and Goma, Nakata sits on a sofa and sinks into darkness. He has killed to stop the killing, he has saved his friends from death, but in doing so he may have cased to be the sweet old man we knew as Nakata and instead joined with ‘human history in a nutshell,’ perpetuating the endless cycle of murder. What will he be like when next we meet him? Will he have regained his memory, killed so as to become a ‘normal’ human being? Will he still be able to talk to cats? Murakami could have lectured his readers on the subject of war, but instead he has created this spellbinding surreal drama –using cats and a whiskey logo! – to make us feel the dilemma faced by those who want peace but also human justice.
The bloody Chapter 16, then, is one of the most intense and profound pieces of writing that Murakami has ever produced, raising questions that haunt the memory of the blood-soaked twentieth century and continue to plague mankind in the twenty-first, which has got off to such a heartbreakingly violent start. The value – or success – of the novel must hinge on what Murakami does with the universal issues to which he has given such urgent expression.
Nakata’s killing of Johnnie Walker has occurred at the exact time (and perhaps in the same house) as the killing of Kafka’s father on 28 May – the time when Kafka, hundreds of miles away in Shikoku, loses consciousness for four hours and wakes in a shrine compound with blood on his hands and clothing. Although we will read ‘real’ newspaper reports of the death of the sculptor Koichi Tamura, this phantasmagorical narrative is all we will ever see of Nakata’s or Kafka’s involvement in the murder.
Johnnie Walker has to be one of Murakami’s boldest challenges to the forces of high seriousness in the evaluation of literary art…”
Thoughts? Questions? Anything?
And a question for me for the group. My plan was that we’d read 1Q84 next, then follow up with Murakami’s newest book, Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage. But since that’s coming out this week, would you rather read it first while it’s “hot” and then go back to 1Q84? Let me know what you think in the comments section below.
My next post: Tuesday, August 19; Chapters 24-36, Kafka on the Shore.