Kafka on the Shore – Famous Quotes


I  just started reading Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami last Sunday and started noting down my favorite quotes from this book. Feel free to add your favorite quotes as well.

  • And once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.
  • Most things are forgotten over time. Even the war itself, the life-and-death struggle people went through is now like something from the distant past. We’re so caught up in our everyday lives that events of the past are no longer in orbit around our minds. There are just too many things we have to think about everyday, too many new things we have to learn. But still, no matter how much time passes, no matter what takes place in the interim, there are some things we can never assign to oblivion, memories we can never rub away. They remain with us forever, like a touchstone.
  • Adults constantly raise the bar on smart children, precisely because they are able to handle it. The children get overwhelmed by the tasks in front of them and gradually lose the sort of openness and sens of accomplishment they innately have. When they’re treated like that, the children start to crawl inside a shell and keep everything inside. It takes a lot of time and effort to get them to open up again. Kids’ hearts are malleable but once they gel, it’s hard to get them back the way they were.
  • Silence, I discover, is something you can actually hear.
  • There are times in life when those kind of excuses don’t cut it anymore. Situations when nobody cares whether you’re suited for the task at hand or not.
  • Most choices we make in life are equally outrageous.
  • In everything, there’s a proper order. You can’t look too far ahead. Do that and you’ll lose sight of what you’re doing and stumble. You’ve got to look ahead a bit or else you’ll bump into something. You’ve got to follow 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.
  • Closing your eyes isn’t going to change anything. Nothing’s gonna disappear just because you can’t see what’s going on and closing your ears won’t make time stand still.
  • 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.
  • In everybody’s life, there’s a point of no return. And in a very few cases, a few point where you can’t go forward anymore. And when we reach that point, all we can do is quietly accept the fact. That’s how we survive.
  • Intolerant narrow minds with no imagination are like parasites that transform the host, change form, and continue to thrive.
  • Only people who’ve been discriminated against can really know how much it hurts.
  • No matter who are what you’re dealing with, people build up meaning between themselves and the things around them. What matter is that you see things with your own eyes.
  • Things change everyday. With each new dawn, it is not the same world as before. And you’re not the same person you were either.
  • All kinds of things are happening to me. Some I chose, some I didn’t. I don’t know how to tell one from another anymore. What I mean is, it feels like everything’s been decided in advance – that I’m following a path somebody else has already mapped out for me. It doesn’t matter how much I think things over, how much effort I put into it. In fact, the harder I try, the more I lose my sense of who I am. It’s like my identity’s an orbit that I’ve strayed far away from, and that really hurts. But more than that, it scares me. Just thinking about it makes me flinch.
  • Let’s all say all your choices and all your effort are destined to be a waste. You’re still very much yourself and nobody else. And you’re forging ahead as yourself. So relax.
  • As long as there’s such a thing as time, everybody’s damaged in the end, changed into something else. It always happens sooner or later.
  • Asking a question is embarrassing for a moment, but not asking is embarrassing for a lifetime.
  • The pure present is an ungraspable advance of the past devouring in the future. In truth, all sensation is already a memory (Henri BergsonMatter and Memory)
  • At the same time that I am the content of the relation, I am also that which does the relating (Hegel)
  • Perhaps most of the people in the world aren’t trying to be free. They just think they are. It’s all an illusion. If they really were set free, most people would be in a real bind. People actually prefer not being free.
  • The people who build high, strong fences are the ones who survive the best.
  • Life’s crappy, no matter how you cut it.
  • A world full of geniuses would have significant problems.
  • But this is something you have to figure out on your own. Nobody can help you. That’s what love is all about. You’re the one having those wonderful feelings but you have to go it alone as you wander through the dark. Your mind and body have to bear it all. All by yourself.
  • There is no war that will end all wars. War breeds war. Lapping up the blood shed by violence, feeding on wounded flesh. War is perfect, self contained being.
  • Memories warm you up from the inside. But they also tear you apart.
  • No matter how much suffering you went through, you never wanted to let go of those memories.
  • Everyone of us is losing something precious to us. Lost opportunities, lost possibilities, feelings we can never get back. That’s part what it means to be alive. But inside our heads, there’s a room where we store those memories. And to understand the workings of our own heart we have to keep on making new reference cards. We have to dust things off every once in a while, let in fresh air, change the water in flower bases. In other words, you’ll live life in your own private library.

2 Comments

  1. 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.

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