Japanese Lit Challenge # 14 Review: after the quake: stories by Haruki Murakami

Note: The author insisted the title of this book be in lower case letters!

My experience reading this author’s work has not been very satisfying. Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage is the only one I’ve finished. It was interesting enough and I gave it a good review, but I haven’t given it a thought since finishing it several years ago. Although it would be heresy according to his fans, I’m again left with words and phrases like, “Is that all?” “Really?” or “Weird,” and “Over-rated.” Mostly, I’m left feeling that I’m too stupid to “get it.” Like with math.

I started listening to this short story collection when I had nothing else on audio. It met two goals–one of my personal reading goals for 2021 to read more short stories and it worked for the Japanese Lit Challenge for which I still had nothing in at the library. Plus, it was only about 4 hours. Predictably,  an e-audio book I was waiting on hit my account the next day. I determined to finish this collection though. Maybe I would finally understand what makes this author so revered?

As the title indicates, the stories all take place after the horrible 1995 earthquake in Kobe. 6 stories tell of of quirky, odd, even somewhat perverted people. I skipped one story after incest seemed to be coming at me. People afraid of refrigerators or obsessed with bonfires, giant frogs,

The stories in this collection are:

“UFO in Kushiro”-– Man’s wife leaves him. Man goes on trip. Man meets women. Woman tells dirty story involving a bell and  bear.

“Landscape with Flatiron” The one with the refrigerator-fearing man and the bonfire freak. They mention literature.

“All God’s Children Can Dance”–skipped it do to looming incest.

 “Thailand” In which a perfectly normal doctor arrives for a medical conference in Thailand, meets her jazz-enthusiast driver and eventually the story gets around to another round of bears and sex.

 “Super-Frog Saves Tokyo” Too weird for words.

“Honey Pie” More bears. UGH

I’m thinking I’ll add Haruki Murakami to my “don’t bother again” list with Dickens and a few other authors. Life is to short….

My Verdict


6 thoughts on “Japanese Lit Challenge # 14 Review: after the quake: stories by Haruki Murakami

  1. I admire your efforts to at least try this author, who is new to me. Enjoyed your review and think I will skip — sounds like a “James Joyce” type experience was for me (not really getting it).

    Liked by 1 person

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