REVIEW: After the Quake

Haruki Murakami is one of my favourite authors. I have many of his books but I haven’t read any for a couple of years.

I couldn’t believe my luck when I found After the Quake and Sputnik Sweetheart in a second hand shop – I almost never find Murakami in second hand shops and was overwhelmed to find two that I hadn’t got or hadn’t read.

After the Quake is a book of six delicious short stories all of them set immediately following a devastating earthquake which struck the city of Kobe on January 17, 1995 and which killed almost 6,500 people.

This book was published in 2002.

The six stories in the book aren’t about the earthquake or about people caught up in the devastation but the earthquake touches lightly on the periphery of each story, all of which are based one month after the event.

I get lost in Murakami’s books and the world could explode around my ears and I probably wouldn’t notice. I find his work in places surreal and in places grounded. Sometimes there is the tiniest detail and in others things are left unspoken.

His characterisation is amazing and he creates strange and wonderful people I want to know more about. I am enthralled by them.

The stories in this book are linked to discovery of self – a salesman whose wife has left him, three college friends whose relationship changes in adulthood, an eminent doctor whose marriage collapsed a while ago, and a timid man who is persuaded by a giant frog that he needs to help him to save Tokyo.

They are mysterious and beguiling and sometimes you are left yelling ‘yes but what happened next?’ when the story has ended. But that is one of the things I like about Murakami… always leave the audience wanting more.

Sometimes I’m not convinced I’ve ‘got’ what I’m meant to be getting but I’m always fully engaged and he writes with flair, wisdom, humour and weirdness and I love that.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: