Monica Brown, October 30, 2014 (view all comments by Monica Brown)
Murakami is a master of the short story. Favorites include the strange and mythical story, 'The Dancing Dwarf' as well as the bizarre 'The Second Bakery Attack.' Classic slivers of Murakami prose delight and feel familiar like in 'The Last Lawn of the Afternoon' and 'Barn Burning.' It also features the beginning piece of my favorite book of his, The Wind-up Bird Chronicle, in an isolated form. This is a book of stories that I like to pick up from time to time and read a story or two, a collection I took my time with.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No (1 of 2 readers found this comment helpful)
sharif78, May 20, 2007 (view all comments by sharif78)
The Elephant Vanishes (1993) is a collection of short stories by Haruki Murakami, one of the most popular writers in Japan. I enjoyed it more than After the Quake. I haven't read any of his novels yet.
Murakami's style is very simple with a lighthearted tone yet he could paint a complex picture. While reading, I always expect he would explain certain things, but he never does, leaves the reader in a limbo. But that's his style, not the typical conflict-crisis-resolution format. One of my favorite stories is The Second Bakery Attack, in which a husband and wife hold up a McDonald's and steal 30 hamburgers, grilled for takeout, although the manager offers them money instead. The husband thought he was under a curse, when he robbed a bakery years ago. After they got married, the wife suggested that to get out of the curse he needs to rob another bakery. They could not find a bakery open after 2am, so McDonald's was the closest thing they can find, not a bakery but they have bread. Another one I liked was Lederhosen, very offbeat. Murakami shows how a pair of shorts could lead to the divorce of a long-married Japanese couple.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No (10 of 20 readers found this comment helpful)
by Chicago Tribune,
"These are beautifully written stories, often funny, always moving."
by David Leavitt, The New York Times Book Review,
"These stories...are warm with life, hopelessly — and, I would add, wonderfully — unstable."
by Washington Post Book World,
"A world-class writer who takes big risks....If Murakami is the voice of a generation...then it is the generation of Thomas Pynchon and Don DeLillo."
by Kirkus Reviews,
"A seamless melding of Japanese cultural nuances with universal themes in a virtuoso story collection....Remarkable evocations of a postmodernist world, superficially indifferent but transformed by Murakami's talent into a place suffused with a yearning for meaning."
by Village Voice Literary Supplement,
"Eerie, unsettling....[A] wonderful combination of the bizarre and the mundane."
"Murakami is one of the great Japanese masters, and his style is sexy, funny, mysterious, and always coolly deadpan."
Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at Powells.com.