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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(198mm x 129mm x 9mm)
Publisher: Vintage Publishing
Country of Publication:
UK Kirkus Review »
The menacing little seismographic printout on the translucent dustjacket of this stylishly produced book says it all. This short collection of six stories - few of them taking more than 15 minutes to read - take their origin from the devastating earthquake that hit Kobe in Japan not long ago. None of the stories in this collection are directly connected with the disaster, though all of them are touched by it in one way or another. Each is set in its own odd little world. The opening story deals with an unhappily divorced man who goes on an enforced holiday only to develop sexual problems due to a mysterious wooden cube in his airplane luggage. Then there follows a short tale about a disaffected family man who likes to build bonfires on the beach at midnight. Best of all is the story of Mr Katagiri, who comes home one evening to find a giant frog in his apartment, intent upon having the poor chap help him save all Tokyo from disaster by burrowing down into the earth and confronting an immense and angry worm. Murakami is a world-renowned writer, a master of alienated characters in a disturbing world. (Kirkus UK)
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Book Review: After the Quake by Haruki Murakami - Reviewed by ohbukowski (10 Jun 2011)
Murakami's speciality is expressing Japanese existential experience with a voice which comes both from within it and from being able to somehow stand seperate from it, exploring it honestly. These stories of separate lives changed by an earthquake; the exposure of the fragility and changeability of their lives; have a similarity in the uselessness and futility that each character somehow feels.
A painter hides from his family, taking solace in the fires he builds on the beach at night. A giant amphibian visits an old man, convincing him to find and fight a creature deep in the earth, who is the cause of the quakes. A young woman ponders whether her hatred and bitterness caused the quake.
This book is mysterious, nuanced and extremely beautiful. Murakami uses absurdist devices to uncover and explain the Japanese, and the human, soul.
Author Biography - Haruki Murakami
Haruki Murakami was born in Kyoto in 1949 and now lives near Tokyo. He is the author of many novels as well as short stories and non-fiction. His works include Norwegian Wood, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, Kafka on the Shore, After Dark and What I Talk About When I Talk About Running. His work has been translated into more than forty languages, and the most recent of his many international honours is the Jerusalem Prize, whose previous recipients include J.M. Coetzee, Milan Kundera, and V.S. Naipaul.