Author: Haruki Murakami
Discovered: Working my way through the Murakami back catalogue
Where read: (in part) In sunny Bankside, London
What's the story?
17 short and snappy stories from master storyteller Haruki Murakami written during the Eighties and Nineties. Previously published individually in Japanese magazines, The Elephant Vanishes was the first time that the stories were presented together as one collection.
The Word's Shortlist view:
I'm an blatant fan (you'll know) of all Murakami's writing and willingly allow myself be sucked in to any of his fiction whether short story collections like The Elephant Vanishes or longer epic's like IQ84. But can you blame me?
Tell me another writer who has successfully and compellingly created a body of work that is so defining of a whole nation's culture and dreams? Okay, that's dramatic buy quite possibly true. Murakami's fiction is an idiosyncratic lens through which to understand all things Japanese.
This books is packed full of unforgettable short stories. Read The Second Bakery Attack to understand youth and growing up in Japan. Read The TV People to understand a culture at the peak of consumerism. Read The Wind-up Bird and Tuesday's Women to see the genesis of what would go on to become one of Murakami's most celebrated novels (The Wind up Bird Chronicle).
Warning time. Murakami crams a lot into these 17 stories. Just immerse yourself and enjoy.
Who should read this book?
Fans, and would be fans, of Murakami's unique style and narrative. This is the ideal introduction to, in my view, one of the greatest living writers.
What’s next on the bookshelf
The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler
Tweet of the week:
There is something seriously wrong in #birmingham. £180m on a new library and no money to fill the shelves. Vanity over literacy