Synopses & Reviews
With the same deadpan mania and genius for dislocation that he brought to his internationally acclaimed novels A Wild Sheep Chase
and Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World
, Haruki Murakami makes this collection of stories a determined assault on the normal. A man sees his favorite elephant vanish into thin air; a newlywed couple suffers attacks of hunger that drive them to hold up a McDonald's in the middle of the night; and a young woman discovers that she has become irresistible to a little green monster who burrows up through her backyard.
By turns haunting and hilarious, The Elephant Vanishes is further proof of Murakami's ability to cross the border between separate realities and to come back bearing treasure.
"The narrators in these stories tend to accept what comes, no matter how bizarre, without acting. When a man discovers his wife keeps a shotgun and ski masks in the car, he asks no questions, but shrugs and thinks, 'Married life is weird.' When another man realizes he has just passed 'the 100% perfect girl' for him on the street, he keeps walking, too ruffled to try to track her down. And when another man teaching in a correspondence school visits a married pupil with a crush on him, they simply eat hamburger steaks and exchange pregnant glances. But despite their passivity, these characters speak with a casual profundity, transforming their seemingly banal stories to parables for our time." Reviewed by Daniel Weiss, Virginia Quarterly Review (Copyright 2006 Virginia Quarterly Review)
"These are beautifully written stories, often funny, always moving." Chicago Tribune
"These stories...are warm with life, hopelessly and, I would add, wonderfully unstable." David Leavitt, The New York Times Book Review
"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." Washington Post Book World
"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." Kirkus Reviews
"Eerie, unsettling....[A] wonderful combination of the bizarre and the mundane." Village Voice Literary Supplement
"Murakami is one of the great Japanese masters, and his style is sexy, funny, mysterious, and always coolly deadpan." Details
About the Author
Haruki Murakami was born in Kyoto in 1949 and grew up in Kobe. He is the author of A Wild Sheep Chase; Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World; and Dance, Dance, Dance. He lives with his wife in Cambridge, Massachusetts.