The idea of this blog is to facilitate the love of reading by collecting news about new books, or sometimes good old books. It is also dedicated to stamping out the scourge of e-books, Kindles, Kobo's, i-Pads, and all other such abominations.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

The Final Solution, A detective Story by Michael Chabon

The Final Solution by Michael Chabon is set in a village in the South of England in 1944.
Linus, a nine-year old refugee from Nazi Germany, is placed in the home of a Malayan minister.
Linus, a clever youngster, is mute. His constant companion is an African parrot, Bruno, who mouths long
strings of numbers in German interspersed with little songs and bits of poetry. Mr. and Mrs. Paniker
and their obnoxious son have other boarders sharing the house. When the parrot disappears and one
of the boarders is murdered, the local police enlist the help of an old, pipe-smoking beekeeper who is
referred to as "the old man". "The old man" has a formidable reputation as a detective. Could it be a
beloved, well-known, retired sleuth? The detective who sympathizes with Linus ,agrees to help but
only to find the parrot. Is national security involved? The old man must use all his analytical skills to
solve the mystery. Chabon is a fine writer. One of the chapters tells the story from the parrot's
point of view and it works. This novella is great fun.

Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami

I have been reading Murakami for years and Kafka on the Shore is one of his best. It is the entrancing 'coming of age' story of Kafka Tamara, a fifteen year old boy who runs away from his home in Tokyo, and old Nakata who was changed by a mysterious incident during World War II that left him 'simple'.

Kafka is running away to find his mother and sister who disappeared when he was very young. He is estranged from his father and is desperate to escape an oedipal prophecy. Nakata, mentally challenged and unable to
articulate his thoughts is able to talk to cats. He is on a journey to find "the entrance stone".

Murakami weaves the journeys of these two beautifully. Each of them is haunted by a brutal murder. Both characters find people on their journeys who support, guide and protect them. Kafka is befriended by a young woman, a librarian and a librarian's assistant when he finds refuge in a private library. Eventually he journeys into a forest from which people have never returned.

Nataka's friend who goes awol from his job to accompany Nakata makes possible his journey. Nakata knows he must find "the entrance stone" that connects the parallel worlds of Kafka and Nakata.
There are wonderful philosophical discussions in the book. What might seem like unbelievable happening in the plot work well in the hands of this great storyteller. It's hard to put the book down once you've dipped in.