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Kafka on the Shore - Haruki Murakami, Philip Gabriel Now I know what Alice felt like after she fell down the rabbit hole.This was my first read of a Haruki Murakami novel but it won't be my last. There's a four word sentence in this book that neatly sums it up: "very different but interesting." I couldn't have said it better myself.I always like a story that starts off headed towards places unknown and then slowly makes more sense with characters introduced early that don't seem to be related to the plot that eventually fit in like pieces in a jigsaw puzzle. That definitely happens in this book. I also like a bit of levity although it isn't necessary. One of the characters says about a rock: "I bet it can't swim well." Sense of humor, check.So all my to-like boxes have been checked in this novel. Including unique characters. You can't get much more different than a man who talks of himself in the third person, a figure off a label come to life and a famous dead restauranteur all strolling around in Japan.This was an enchanting and compelling read. I suspect it will not agree with those who dislike loose ends, for there are an explosion in a yarn factory's worth. But just like in science fiction, it's not necessary that everything be explained to be a good book.So why didn't I give it 5 stars? I found the male characters written with much more depth than the female ones, it was too heavy on the philosophical dialogue, and the ending was more of a fade out than a dropped curtain.An entertaining novel that will have you thinking about love, life and relationships. Just stay out of the deepest part of the woods, who knows what you might find there. 4.5 stars.