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)