Last week, I read Kafka on the Shore by Murakami. I was mesmerised. Very few books have swept me away like this.
The Lord of the Rings is among them. In the sixth form, I refused to read it. Being an arrogant little punk, I was suspicious of a book that so many of my peers raved about. Luckily for me, my first friend at University insisted I read it and lent me her copy. Despite having an A level in English lit, I had never read anything like it. Back in 1972, there simply wasn’t as much fantasy literature around. I was, of course, entranced. Wales, where I studied, suddenly transformed itself into Middle Earth. I shall be for ever grateful to my friend, Polly.
Probably the next book to have this effect on me was The Beastly Beatitudes of Balthazar B by J P Donleavy. This was recommended by a guy I worked for as a systems programmer at Addenbrookes Hospital. He also recommended Kurt Vonnegut, another author who made an immeasurable contribution to my life.
There are so many wonderful books, but, occasionally, one grabs you by the throat. Kafka on the Shore just did that to me.