Kafka on the Shore


Haruki Murakami

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Kafka on the Shore: Chapter 42 Summary & Analysis

Nakata takes a seat in Miss Saeki’s office. They both feel as if they have been waiting for each other. Miss Saeki asks if Hoshino is Nakata’s friend, and he says that he is—the first friend Nakata has ever had, besides cats. Miss Saeki says that she hasn’t had friends for some time either, except in memories. She feels that memories are consuming her. Holding onto memories has tormented her, yet she can’t let go. Meanwhile, Nakata says, he has no memories at all.
Nakata and Miss Saeki connect over the fact that they have both led extremely solitary lives. They are able to form their own kind of bond because of this overwhelming isolation. Miss Saeki’s inability to let go of her old relationship has kept her from forming new friendships, while Nakata’s lack of memory has led him to do the same.
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Miss Saeki says that she knows about the entrance stone, and that in fact she opened the entrance herself many years ago, to try to hold onto her boyfriend. She wonders if that’s why everything is warped now. Nakata responds that he’s not sure, but he does know that Miss Saeki can’t stay. Miss Saeki agrees. She says that for a long time her life has been a string of meaningless mistakes, which she’s chronicled in a series of files. She gives the files to Nakata, asking him to burn them. He agrees. Downstairs, he tells Hoshino that they need to find somewhere to burn the files, and the pair departs.
Because of their implicit connection, Miss Saeki and Nakata slip easily into a discussion of strange supernatural events that might sound absurd to an outsider. This connection also leads her to trust Nakata with her most prized possession and an important task, even though they have just met.
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After the library closes, Oshima goes upstairs to Miss Saeki’s office. She is facedown on her desk—dead. Although he had been prepared for this moment, Oshima feels overwhelmed with loss. He realizes he needs to tell Kafka, but thinks that somehow, Kafka already  knows.
Oshima knew Miss Saeki was fated to die, but now that the moment has actually come, he realizes that there are limits to how much a belief in fate can actually soften the blow of loss.
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