Haruki Murakami’s “Kafka on the Shore” Quotes (83 Quotes)



    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.


    When someone is trying very hard to get something, they don't. And when they're running away from something as hard as they can, it usually catches up with them.

    You are a major dimwit. Is your brain made out of jello, you spineless twit? A leaf? What do you think I am, one of those magical raccoons? I'm a concept, get it? Con-cept! Concepts and raccoons aren't exactly the same, now are they? What a dumb thing to say...


    You can't look too far ahead. Do that and you'll lose sight of what you're doing and stumble. I'm not saying you should focus solely on the details right in front of you, mind you. You've got to look ahead a bit or else you'll bump into something. You've got to conform to 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.

    Your heart is like a great river after a long spell of rain, spilling over its banks. All signposts that once stood on the ground are gone, inundated and carried away by that rush of water. And still the rain beats down on the surface of the river. Every time you see a flood like that on the news you tell yourself: That's it. That's my heart.


    You're afraid of imagination and even more afraid of dreams. Afraid of the resposibility that begins in dreams. But you have to sleep and dreams are a part of sleep. When you're awake you can suppress imagination but you can't supress dreams.


    Time passes slowly. Nobody says a word, everyone lost in quiet reading. One person sits at a desk jotting down notes, but the rest are sitting there silently, not moving, totally absorbed. Just like me.

    Time weighs down on you like an old, ambiguous dream. You keep on moving, trying to sleep through it. But even if you go to the ends of the earth, you won't be able to escape it. Still, you have to go there- to the edge of the world. There's something you can't do unless you get there.




    I'm free, I think. I shut my eyes and think hard and deep about how free I am, but I can't really understand what it means. All I know is I'm totally alone. All alone in an unfamiliar place, like some solitary explorer who's lost his compass and his map. Is this what it means to be free? I don't know, and I give up thinking about it.

    The silence grew deeper, so deep that if you listened carefully you might very well catch the sound of the earth revolving on its axis.

    Beyond the edge of the world there's a space where emptiness and substance neatly overlap, where past and future form a continuous, endless loop. And, hovering about, there are signs no one has ever read, chords no one has ever heard.

    It must be though on you not being able to read, but it's not the end of the world. You might not be able to read, but there are things only you can do. That's what you gotta focus on - your strengths.

    From my own experience, when someone is trying very hard to get something, they don't. And when they're running away from something as hard as they can, it usually catches up with them. I'm generalizing, of course.

    Perhaps most people in the world aren't trying to be free, Kafka. They just think they are. It's all an illusion. If they really were set free, most people would be in a real pickle. You'd better remember that. People actually prefer not being free?

    A deserted library in the morning - there's something about it that really gets to me. All possible words and ideas are there, resting peacefully.


    The strength I'm looking for isn't the type where you win or lose. I'm not after a wall that'll repel power coming from outside. What I want us the kind of strength to be able to absorb that kind of power, to stand up to it.The strength to quietly endure things - unfairness, misfortunes, sadness, mistakes, misunderstandings.




    Reality's just the accumulation of ominous prophecies come to life. All you have to do is open a newspaper on any given day to weigh the good news versus the bad news, and you'll see what I mean.

    A strange, terrific force unlike anything I've ever experienced is sprouting in my heart, taking root there, growing. Shut up behind my rib cage, my warm heart expands and contracts independent of my will--over and over.

    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 humans are capable of - that a certain type of perfection can only be realized through a limitless accumulation of the imperfect. And personally, I feel that encouraging. Do you know what I'm getting at?


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