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After the Quake: Stories by Haruki Murakami

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

by Haruki Murakami

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3,067861,852 (3.79)274
Title:After the Quake: Stories
Authors:Haruki Murakami
Info:Vintage (2003), Paperback, 147 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:from Visual Bookshelf, 1001 books, Japan, Kobe earthquake, bookclub

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After the Quake by Haruki Murakami (2000)

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Showing 1-5 of 77 (next | show all)
After the Quake was the first book I had ever read by Murakami. If it's your first time reading Haruki Murakami too I would urge you to start where I started: Super Frog Saves Tokyo.

Super Frog Saves Tokyo is exactly how it sounds, and remains affectionately in my memory as one of my favourite things that Murakami has ever written.

The rest of the short stories didn't have such an impact on me, although I was probably not accustomed to his writing style.

After the Quake is poetic, and melancholy and sometimes magical and left me curious about the author. An author who would become one of my favourite authors ever, whose books dominate my bookshelves and bedside table.

Haruki Murakami is modest, and honest, but the thing I adore about him most is that he puts himself in his books. Characters listen to jazz records Haruki himself played when he ran a jazz bar many years ago, or read books he read, or use train stations he's used.

Murakami said that if writing a novel is like planting a forest, then writing short stories is like planting a flower garden. His writing style in this collection is delicate, fragile, a little absurd but somehow that makes it all the more real.

I'll always be fond of this book, of the day that I started reading Haruki Murakami. And I've never looked back. ( )
  lydia1879 | Aug 31, 2016 |
Murakami is always compelling - partly because I'm not familiar with the tropes of Japanese fiction so the stories are always unpredictable and quirky to me - and these stories are no exception. That said, my favorite in this collection was also probably the most naturalistic; LANDSCAPE WITH FLATIRON. Friendship, love, bonfires and the sea... all the perfect ingredients! ( )
  AmberMcWilliams | Aug 24, 2016 |
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 |
Showing 1-5 of 77 (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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“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
First words
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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Book description
The economy was booming. People had more money than they knew what to do with. And then the earthquake struck. For the characters in After the Quake, the Kobe earthquake is an echo from a past they buried long ago. Satsuki has spent thirty years hating one man: a lover who destroyed her chances of having children. Did her desire for revenge cause the earthquake? Junpei's estranged parents live in Kobe. Should he contact them? Miyake left his family in Kobe to make midnight bonfires on a beach hundreds of miles away. Fourteen-year-old Sala has nightmares that the Earthquake Man is trying to stuff her inside a little box. Katagiri returns home to find a giant frog in his apartment on a mission to save Tokyo from a massive burrowing worm. 'When he gets angry, he causes earthquakes,' says Frog. 'And right now he is very, very angry.' This new collection of stories, from one of the world's greatest living writers, dissects the violence beneath the surface of modern Japan.
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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 4 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)

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