[2017-12-31] “After The Quake”

After The Quake” is a collection of six short stories by Haruki Murakami (translated into English from the original Japanese by Jay Rubin). All the stories in this collection are linked in some way or another to the Kobe earthquake in 1995 and take place some time after that. The characters in the stories are not physically affected by the earthquake, but the news of the destruction unleashed by the earthquake affect them in some way.

The stories are not traditional short stories, so they do not make much sense on a superficial reading - one has to read between the lines to understand what the author is trying to convey or attach one’s own interpretation to them based on personal experiences. This would not therefore be everyone’s cup of tea.

That said, a couple of the stories in this collection left me completely baffled (e.g. “Super-Frog Saves Tokyo”) - either I am too dumb to understand them or I think the author was trying to be too clever with these stories. To be honest, I did not enjoy the stories in this collection. To be uncharitable, I think they are a little too pretentious for my taste. I am unlikely to pick up anything else written by the author any time soon.

By the way, a neat thing about the English translation (and the particular edition I was reading) is that almost all of the stories took up exactly 20 pages, with the last story taking up exactly 30 pages. Surely this cannot be due to coincidence alone, but why the author/translator chose to do this, I do not know.

Other Posts from 2017