After The Quake

After The Quake 
Author: Haruki Murakami
Release Date: 2000 (Japan)/2002 (UK)
Vintage

After the Kobe earthquake in Japan, the effects caused after shocks through people’s lives. Maybe indirectly, these six tales in after the quake tell stories of bonfires, divorce, reunion, and super-frogs. 

Each story is far from the Kobe earthquake, but the character in the stories have some form of connection to the place, be it past relatives or previously living there. The protagonists we meet seem to be coated in imperfections and troubles, far before the earthquake hit, and the news seems to lead them to fresh new revelations in their lives.

Seeing one ordinary man befriend a large talking frog to stop the evil worm causing another quake in Tokyo is rather bizarre, yet ultimately emotional as we see the bonds come to a rather bitter-sweet climax. They aren’t all so out there in concept though, as the tale ‘Honey Pie’ tells a very real and saddening tale of a man who just gets by and sees his best friend take the woman he loves. With the events of the earthquake, shifts in his accepting life style come to an end. The way the quake subtly effects each characters plight is clever and though provoking as we consider that not only does the earth shift plates. Subtle tales full of the complexities of the human condition, perhaps a little darker and seedier than the usual tales I’ve experienced from Haruki Murakami. One event can change the course of life for many, sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse. In after the quake we get a look at both.

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