Kafka on the Shore is one of my favorite novels by Murakami. He masterfully weaves seemingly diverse story-lines from multiple points of view into a larger picture that leaves you thinking about the world in ways you hadn't previously. Murakami's style is unique. I would describe it as a sort of surreal, magical realism. This story follows Kafka Tamura, a troubled young teen who runs away from home, and a wonderfully endearing elderly man named Nakata who, although being mentally challenged, possesses a few fantastic skills (the ability to speak to cats being my favorite). The major themes in this book are a bit clichd but are important nonetheless. You can't run from your problems; life must be dealt with. "Sometimes fate is like a small sandstorm that keeps changing directions. You change direction, but the sandstorm chases you. You turn again, but the storm adjusts. Over and over you play this out, like some ominous dance with death just before dawn."
An unlikely alliance forms between Kafka Tamura, a fifteen-year-old runaway, and the aging Nakata, a man who has never recovered from a wartime affliction, as they embark on a surreal odyssey through a strange, fantastical world.