Review: After the Quake

After the Quake

After the Quake  – Short Stories (single author)
By Haruki Murakami
(Vintage, Paperback, 9780375713279, May 2003, 160pp.)

The Short of It:

Simple prose yet so complex. The stories in this collection are thought-provoking and dreamy in a surreal, fantastical way.

The Rest of It:

This is a very brief collection of stories. Six stories, all set at the time of the 1995 Kobe earthquake. None of the stories are really about the earthquake. Instead, the earthquake itself serves as a reminder of how delicate life is, how fragile Japan is and how a tiny shift in thinking can affect our daily existence.

Murakami is a powerful writer. The novels I’ve read so far took me to a place I’ve never been before. A far, out-there place where cats can talk and pimps are named Colonel Sanders. But, this collection of stories is the total opposite of his novels.

There are a few fantastical elements contained within this collection, but they are the sort of nightmarish, creepy hallucinations anyone could experience while sleeping. This collection of stories feels more accessible to me, if that makes sense. I’m thinking that those who found Murakami’s work too extreme in the past, might enjoy these stories. Actually, I’m sure of it.

I read this collection in one sitting. I was mesmerized, charmed and in one case totally weirded out yet I could not put the book down once I started reading it. To me, Murakami is this awesome, Japanese Cowboy who rides into town and sweeps me off my feet with his lyrical prose and knack for dialogue.

I’m a bit smitten with his writing. Can you tell?

Source: Borrowed (but now I want to buy my own copy)

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15 thoughts on “Review: After the Quake”

  1. This one sounds just as wonderful. I’m intrigued that this one doesn’t have any of those fantastical elements. I will look for it after Kafka on the Shore!

  2. I love Murakami – his work is ace! And this book is great! So, glad to see you’ve taken a fancy to Murakami – love the image of him as a Japaense cowboy 🙂 By the by, I know what you mean about his work – even though its surreal and odd, you can still connect with it so easily that it starts to make sense – love that about his writing.

  3. Every time I hear you talk about your love for Murakami, I come closer and closer to buying my own copy of one of his books. Incrementally I am being pushed further and further into letting go and trying again. These reviews are great, and I loved reading this one. Thanks!

    1. This collection was very tame compared to his novels. With most short stories, I find myself heistant to plunge into them but this one sucked me right in.

  4. What an amazing author Murakami is…you found these stories to be different than his novels yet still enjoyed them. They sound mezmirizing and riveting to me. I love your comment about ‘nightmarish, creepy hallucinations..”

    The Murakami’s novels I bought are taunting me from my nightstand but I’m trying to get through several books I am supposed to review before I sit down to enjoy his books. I have paged through Kafka 3 times and Norwegian Wood twice so far!

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