"I assume you've read some of Kafka's stories?"
I nod. "The Castle, and The Trial, 'Metamorphosis'. Plus that weird story about an execution device."
"'In the Penal Colony'," Oshima says. "I love that story. Only Kafka could have written it."
"That's my favorite of his short stories."
It takes me a while to gather my thoughts. "I think what Kafka does is give a purely mechanical explanation of that complex machine in the story, as sort of a substitute for explaining the situation we're in. What I mean is..." I have to give it some more thought. "What I mean is, that's his own device for explaining the kind of lives we lead. Not by talking about our situation, but by talking about the details of the machine."
--- Murakami Haruki, Kafka on the Shore
(trans. Philip Gabriel)