After the Quake – Haruki Murakami

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 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 hundred of miles away. Four-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.

Genre: Fiction, Short Stories, Japanese
Year: 2000
Publisher: Vintage
Rating: 3/5

After the Quake is a collection of short stories by Haruki Murakami. Each story deals with the situation of a different person, which is loosely connected to the Kobe earthquake. 

I must begin by saying, I am not a big fan of the short story format. I struggle with reading short stories in one sitting as I have issues with jumping between characters and plots so quickly. I much prefer a novel where I can sit down and immerse myself in the one world, with the same characters. That said, I think I have pretty much made my way through all of Murakami's novels and I do want to read all of his translated work, even his short stories. 

These stories are about people, not the quake. They deal with people who are trying to come to terms with something in their past and work out their future. I quite liked 'Honey Pie', a tender story about a writer who has spent years loving a woman he can not have, his friendship with her estranged husband and his relationship with their four-year-old daughter, who he tells stories to. This story was moving and thought-provoking. Well worth the read.

This book is quite thin (only 132 pages) so I was able to read it quickly. The stories in this collection were interesting, full of the surrealism, pondering on human nature and the dark depths of the human soul, that I have come to love in Murakami's work. This collection would be a great introduction into Murakami's style of writing if you wanted something short to begin exploring his writing. 

Have you read any of Murakami's short stories?
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