Kafka on the Shore
The book gets its title from a song one of the characters wrote about 30 years before the book begins. And I want to sing the title to the Smiths' "Girlfriend in a Coma." Of course "Kafka on the Shore" is one syllable short, so I am merely driving myself crazy.
"Kafka" is the name a 15-year-old runaway gives himself, and I'm uncomfortable with such obvious allusions. So, there's the song "Kafka on the Shore," then there's the boy Kafka Tamura, who has nothing to do with the song, oh, except that he does. And, also, "kafka" apparently means "crow," in some language. Czech, maybe?
The story of Kafka the runaway alternates chapters with the story of Nakata, sort of an idiot savant, though that's oversimplifying matters. Nakata, who talks about himself in the third person, can talk to cats (because we all have our talents!) until he can't. Then they intertwine. Of course.
Interspersed is a lot of talk about literary and musical theory. And things get a bit heavy-handed. People have monologues, and I get bored. But not so bored that I didn't want to finish.