10 August 2009

After the Quake


I snagged After the Quake by Haruki Murakami last week from the library. I really had no intention to read anything but what was on my list for the Japanese Lit Challenge, it's just such a little book that i figured i might as well read it. I didn't realize it was on the 1001 books list, which means it also counts for the 1% challenge. Yay!

After the Quake is a series of short stories. Murakami connects them by having them all refer to the Kobe earthquake of 1995. The first story, "UFO in Kushiro", begins with a woman obsessively watching the news coverage of the earthquake. The last story, "Honey Pie", has as its basis a little girl who has nightmares about the earthquake.

I don't know how to describe his writing. it lovely, dreamy, yet the images are clear and concrete. weird fantasy or sci-fi elements intertwine with deeply human feelings and sadness. It is simple but so good.

My favorite story was "Honey Pie", with my second favorite being "thailand". Both have lost love and longing but essentially happy endings. i'm needing happy endings right now. a big, fat 7 overall. READ THIS!

9 comments:

  1. I am so glad you picked this up and enjoyed it. It was my first introduction to Murakami and I loved it. Even though I have my own paperback copy (with a different cover) I ended up picking up this same hardback from the library the other day because I had left my paperback at work. The cover freaks me out a bit because it reminds me of this Chinese restaurant where they had similar large fish in a fish tank and similar pictures of fish on the table clothes. It sort of made me ill looking at them while eating so I wasn't disappointed when the place closed down.

    As for the book, I really liked Super-Frog Saves Tokyo and the one with the character who swims. I cannot recall the title of that one right now. I might just go home and read that one tonight. Feel free to help my aging memory! :)

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  2. I love how you describe Murakami's writing: dreamy but clear at the same time. He is just so multi-faceted, like a beautiful jewel. I'm looking forward to this one, too, not only for it's length :) but because of the short stories themselves.

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  3. Thanks for sharing this review! I will definitely pick this up sometime in the next couple of weeks. I have yet to delve into Murakami, maybe this will be a good start!

    -Jen

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  4. I'm glad you enjoyed this book! I don't normally enjoy Murakami's short stories but for some reason couldn't get enough of this one.

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  5. Carl- The swimming one is Thailand. i liked that one as well.

    Dolce, Jen- the only other book i've read by Murakami is After Dark, which is a bit trippy. These stories are more normal, except for Super-Frog. I do think this is a good one to start with though.

    Colleen- I think i should just start buying his books. I have wanted to reread After Dark since i first listened to it and i bet i'll want to revisit these stories again.

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  6. Yes, I totally agree. Murakami does manage to make his scenes somehow dreamy and yet so clear. I'm glad you liked this book, my favorite was Honey Pie too! If you still haven't, you might want to read his novel Norwegian Wood. It has a number of similarities with Honey Pie, only more dramatic :)

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  7. you made a better review than mine :)

    I like this book too, this is a bit different with most Murakami that I've read...maybe because they are only short story.

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