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After the Quake: Stories by Haruki Murakami
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After the Quake: Stories (original 2000; edition 2003)

by Haruki Murakami

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3,048841,860 (3.8)273
Member:harrytlotus
Title:After the Quake: Stories
Authors:Haruki Murakami
Info:Vintage (2003), Paperback, 160 pages
Collections:Sold
Rating:*****
Tags:None

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After the Quake by Haruki Murakami (2000)

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» See also 273 mentions

English (75)  Spanish (3)  Dutch (3)  French (1)  Danish (1)  German (1)  All languages (84)
Showing 1-5 of 75 (next | show all)
This is my first experience reading Murakami. I had heard one of his stories read in a podcast and was instantly attracted to the way he combines the ordinary with the supernatural. I also like that the supernatural elements of his stories are not always obvious. I have heard that he appeals to young people in particular, but I think he can appeal to anyone who has ever felt lonely, or disatisfied with his/her own life. Murakami is also a fascinating writer because his charaters are emotional, yet restrained. They internalize their feelings and don't feel comfortable sharing them with others, including their own family and friends. All this and a giant frog! ( )
  RojaHorchata | Jul 11, 2016 |
After the Quake - Murakami
3 stars

The title of this short story collection refers to the devastating 1995 Kobe earthquake. However, the earthquake is only a peripheral element in these six stories. In each of these stories the characters are sufficiently unsettled by the earthquake that they are forced to examine their own lives. There were two stories that I enjoyed, but overall, despite the quality of the writing, the stories felt not only bleak, but pointless. I can understand creating characters who are realizing that they have been living lives of quiet desperation. I would have prefered a certain amount of action in the plot to indicate what they might actively do with that realization. I haven’t given up on Murakami. I will probably read at least one of his novels to see what he does with a longer format.
( )
  msjudy | May 30, 2016 |
Odd magical realism-ish short stories. I doubt I will even remember any of these in a week or two. But I am not a fan of magical realism-ish stuff, so no surprise that I don't love these. I was actually hoping these stories would be more quake-related, but the title is a little misleading.

A great break after slogging through Pamela, however. ( )
  Dreesie | Apr 12, 2016 |
This short book is a collection of six short stories, thematically linked - all take place shortly after the 1995 Kobe earthquake. All display Murakami's masterful writing. Technically, the book probably deserves 5 stars, but somehow, I found myself only liking it 4-stars' worth. Which is still excellent.
As in much of Murakami's writing, the characters here are 'floaty,' hard to pin down or grasp.

UFO in Kushiro.
The main character here is the literal embodiment of this aspect of Murakami's characters. His wife has left him because, she says, being married to him is like being married to "a chunk of air." A friend asks him to deliver a package, which seems to be a pretext to get him to meet a couple of sexy young women... but abruptly the narrative shifts to a musing on identity and loss.

Landscape with Flatiron
The title embodies Murakami's frequent juxtaposition of the surreal and the mundane. A young woman who has run away to live with her loser boyfriend is strangely drawn to an eccentric older man who is obsessed with lighting bonfires. Eloquent, depressing and shocking.

All God's Children Can Dance
The main character's mother, an eccentric born-again, has always claimed that he was the product of an immaculate conception. Unsurprisingly, he doubts this, and when he randomly encounters a man who fits the description of one of his mother's pre-conversion lovers, he follows and stalks the man. Again, it deals with issues of identity.

Thailand
A businesswoman on the verge of a nervous breakdown vacations in Thailand. Her hired driver, she learns, was the private chauffeur of a Norwegian man for over thirty years. Now that his employer has died, his identity is oddly truncated. Reminiscent of 'The Remains of the Day.'

Super-Frog Saves Tokyo
The only story here with 'fantasy' elements - although it could all be a drug-induced delirium. An ordinary businessman is approached by a human-sized, talking frog and told that he is the only one who can possibly save Tokyo from a devastating earthquake, if he assists the frog on his heroic and probably-doomed quest. Absurd, but touching, as it discusses what it means to rise above.

Honey Pie
Three friends meet in college. Both men fall in love with the woman... but one has the personality of taking what he wants, while the other tends to defer. Years pass, the relationships continue, odd and complicated. ( )
  AltheaAnn | Feb 9, 2016 |
This group of short stories by Murakami did not suit me. I generally enjoy his writing and have enjoyed other short stories by him, but this set was never pleasing. To me, everone seemed disaffected and dissatisfied. ( )
  whymaggiemay | Feb 3, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 75 (next | show all)
I loved this book before last week’s earthquake, because it illuminated a few things about my own condition at the time that I read it. But now the truth in this collection of fiction has a new depth to it; its general conclusions have become amazingly relevant and important to us this week. It offers no solutions and I don’t even think it offers much comfort, but it holds a hauntingly accurate mirror to our world now.
 

» Add other authors (12 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Haruki Murakamiprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Rubin, JayTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
“Liza! What was it yesterday, then?”
“It was what it was.”
“That’s impossible! That’s cruel!”

   —Fyodor Dostoevsky, Demons
RADIO: …garrison already decimated by the Vietcong, who lost 115 of their men…
WOMAN: It’s awful, isn’t it, it’s so anonymous.
MAN: What is?
WOMAN: They say 115 guerillas, yet it doesn’t mean anything, because we don’t know anything about these men, who they are, whether they love a woman, or have children, if they prefer the cinema to the theatre. We know nothing. They just say…115 dead.

   —Jean-Luc Godard, Pierrot le Fou
Dedication
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Five straight days she spend in front of the television, staring at crumbled banks and hospitals, whole blocks of stores in flames, severed rail lines and expressways.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Please do not combine this entry with the entries for the individual short stories.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0375713271, Paperback)

Haruki Murakami, a writer both mystical and hip, is the West's favorite Japanese novelist. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Murakami lived abroad until 1995. That year, two disasters struck Japan: the lethal earthquake in Kobe and the deadly poison gas attacks in the Tokyo subway. Spurred by these tragic events, Murakami returned home. The stories in After the Quake are set in the months that fell between the earthquake and the subway attack, presenting a world marked by despair, hope, and a kind of human instinct for transformation. A teenage girl and a middle-aged man share a hobby of making beach bonfires; a businesswoman travels to Thailand and, quietly, confronts her own death; three friends act out a modern-day Tokyo version of Jules and Jim. There's a surreal element running through the collection in the form of unlikely frogs turning up in unlikely places. News of the earthquake hums throughout. The book opens with the dull buzz of disaster-watching: "Five straight days she spent in front of the television, staring at the crumbled banks and hospitals, whole blocks of stores in flames, severed rail lines and expressways." With language that's never self-consciously lyrical or show-offy, Murakami constructs stories as tight and beautiful as poems. There's no turning back for his people; there's only before and after the quake. --Claire Dederer

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:01 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

A collection of stories inspired by the January 1995 Kobe earthquake and the poison gas subway attacks two months later takes place between the two disasters and follows the experiences of people who found their normal lives undone by surreal events.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 6 descriptions

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