Kafka on the Shore


Haruki Murakami

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Kafka on the Shore: Chapter 29 Summary & Analysis

Feeling guilty about his abrupt departure from her apartment, Kafka calls Sakura to let her know he’s ok. She’s a little annoyed, but glad to hear from him. She warns him to be safe, saying that she feels protective of him, like an older sister. Kafka feels slightly dizzy—no one has ever said that to him before. After he hangs up, he puts “Kafka on the Shore” on the record player, letting it transport him to another time and place.
Kafka is always thinking about his lost family members, to such an extent that a friendly, casual remark has the power to send him reeling. In this way, Kafka’s independence is really just a façade covering the deeper sense of isolation that consumes him. Kafka turns to music as one way of escaping his feelings about his past.
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That night, Kafka wakes up as usual to the living ghost sitting at his desk. But something is off: he realizes she isn’t the young girl at all, but rather the real, middle aged Miss Saeki. She undresses and gets into bed with Kafka. He realizes she must be sleepwalking and think that he’s her young boyfriend, since Kafka is sleeping in his old room. As they have sex, Kafka feels as if he’s struggling to find the border between dream and reality. Then Miss Saeki slips out of the room and leaves. Kafka waits to hear her car pull out of the parking lot, but he never does.
In this dream-like sequence, it remains unclear whether Kafka has actually acted on his complicated feelings towards Miss Saeki, or is simply caught up in an extremely vivid dream. That blurred line is a reflection of the fact that Kafka believes his dreams are, in a sense, real, because they seem real, impact the world around him, and carry real responsibility.
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