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After The Quake

Cover of After The Quake

After The Quake

In 1995, the Japanese city of Kobe suffered a massive earthquake. Nearly 6,000 people died. after the quake was the imaginative response from Japan’s leading novelist, Haruki Murakami: six stories, each dealing not directly with the catastrophe but the wider seismic effect it had on the emotional lives of people many miles away.

It became a catalyst for individuals to reassess their lives with unexpected consequences for themselves and their families and friends around them. After the Quake is Murakami's most popular short story collection.

In 1995, the Japanese city of Kobe suffered a massive earthquake. Nearly 6,000 people died. after the quake was the imaginative response from Japan’s leading novelist, Haruki Murakami: six stories, each dealing not directly with the catastrophe but the wider seismic effect it had on the emotional lives of people many miles away.

It became a catalyst for individuals to reassess their lives with unexpected consequences for themselves and their families and friends around them. After the Quake is Murakami's most popular short story collection.

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  • AudioFile Magazine Published in 2002 in Japan, these six stories center around the 1995 Kobe earthquake. Contrary to what listeners have come to expect from Americans writing about disasters close to home, there's little if any shock value here. Everything is extremely subtle, and almost nothing is resolved: the bored wife glued to the television and the child haunted by the Earthquake Man remain on the periphery of the stories. Rarely do tales of this literary caliber, especially from an unfamiliar culture, make such a smooth transition to audio. The three British narrators are more than competent, though the characters' names are strange to their ears as well as ours, and they tend to overemphasize the high pitch of women's voices. R.R. (c) AudioFile 2007, Portland, Maine
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from July 29, 2002
    These six stories, all loosely connected to the disastrous 1995 earthquake in Kobe, are Murakami (The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle; Norwegian Wood) at his best. The writer, who returned to live in Japan after the Kobe earthquake, measures his country's suffering and finds reassurance in the inevitability that love will surmount tragedy, mustering his casually elegant prose and keen sense of the absurd in the service of healing. In "Honey Pie," Junpei, a gentle, caring man, loses his would-be sweetheart, Sayoko, when his aggressive best friend, Takatsuki, marries her. They have a child, Sala. He remains close friends with them and becomes even closer after they divorce, but still cannot bring himself to declare his love for Sayoko. Sala is traumatized by the quake and Junpei concocts a wonderful allegorical tale to ease her hurt and give himself the courage to reveal his love for Sayoko. In "UFO in Kushiro" the horrors of the quake inspire a woman to leave her perfectly respectable and loving husband, Komura, because "you have nothing inside you that you can give me." Komura then has a surreal experience that more or less confirms his wife's assessment. The theme of nothingness is revisited in the powerful "Thailand," in which a female doctor who is on vacation in Thailand and very bitter after a divorce, encounters a mysterious old woman who tells her "There is a stone inside your body.... You must get rid of the stone. Otherwise, after you die and are cremated, only the stone will remain." The remaining stories are of equal quality, the characters fully developed and memorable. Murakami has created a series of small masterpieces. (Aug. 20)Forecast:The thematic urgency of this collection should give readers an extra reason to pick it up; Murakami's track record will do the rest.

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