After the Quake: Stories (2002)- Haruki Murakami
Verdict: Read it!
Haruki Murakami is probably the most well known Japanese author in the west. For this week’s FFR, I’d like to focus on one of his works that often slips under the radar. After the Quake is a collection of six short stories loosely connected by the 1995 earthquake in Kobe, Japan. You’ve likely not read anyone like him, and it’s hard to find a bad story in this bunch. I can still remember two in detail since reading them maybe 3 years ago: “Honey Pie” and “Super Frog Saves Tokyo”. These are worth the purchase or rental of the entire collection alone.
Murakami combines natural non-intimidating authenticity with conciseness and magical realism to create something unique, beautiful, and refreshing. This collection fits that aesthetic perfectly. Not only is After the Quake wonderfully inspiring, it’s also a quick read—coming in at under 200 pages. If you’re interested in Murakami at all, this is a great place to start. Read it!