Book: After the Quake

After the Quake
Available in a multitude of covers

Disappointingly disconnected, slightly bizarre short stories.
147 pages, ★★

In 1995, an earthquake in a prosperous Japanese city left only spiritual rubble. This story documents people’s reactions immediately following the quake. One woman leaves her husband, and one man accepts a mysterious delivery job. Most of the characters have either lost something, or are looking for something, in the vaguest sense.

Aside from that, unless I go into some philosophical over-think, the characters in these short stories have nothing in common. They also never meet each other. The final story then becomes surreal when it introduces a giant frog character, which unlike the fantasy elements of 1Q84, is neither spiritual nor meaningful.

After the Quake feels like a work-in-progress, a rough sketch, an EP. I am still confident that Murakami’s best works are yet to be found, and I’ll keep looking. ★★

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