After The Quake is the very first short story collection of Murakami’s that I’ve read. And I really enjoyed it! They say that this certainly isn’t his best collection so I presume if I enjoyed this, it’s all going to get better from here.
I’m not going to review each story individually but more of an overview of the actual collection. I believe this was written after the Kobe earthquake of 1995 and each story is about how the earthquake has affected the characters in that story. The entire collection has Murakami’s trademark feeling with main male characters, except one,(even featuring a frog and a worm) and female characters that have acted in puzzling ways (not all of them though). UFO in Kushiro is the first one and it is definitely my favourite one while Honey Pie has a strangely eerie vibe to it. I gave this collection four stars and I really enjoyed it. (This one is under 200 pages BTW)
(Also, I read this one story at a time before bed. This isn’t a good idea, you have terribly confusing dreams)
After Dark on the other hand was something I enjoyed less. After Dark follows an unnamed POV narrated in 1st person plural(?) which follows one of two twins, Eri and another POV where we follow Mari. But there is no POV in the second character, it’s almost like a factual narration of the going ons around Mari, the other twin.
The entire story is narrated within the hours from midnight and dawn where we see Mari sitting at a Dennys and them rushing to the aid of a Chinese prostitute at a love hotel whose manager comes to find her based on a recommendation of a Jazz Trombonist who she once met while Eri was still “normal”.
You are left with a feeling of incompleteness. Which is odd for me. Usually after reading a Murakami story I feel satiated, like everything in the world is absolutely delightful again but this didn’t give me that. It left me annoyed and wishing the story had been completely different. It is one of his more celebrated works from what I hear but just like I didn’t enjoy Sputnik Sweetheart, I didn’t enjoy this either.
These aren’t reviews, I’m just sharing my thoughts on the latest Murakami works I read. That’s all. Have you read these?