Adventures in Reading

Revisted Review: The Elephant Vanishes by Haruki Murakami

Unfortunately short story collections too often seem the bastardized relatives of novels and I so seldom see them appear on any award or reading lists. Murakami’s The Elephant Vanishes is a prime example of how perfect and well-crafted short stories can be. Murakami’s stories tend to follow the lives of the upper/middle class with a certain emotional distance or ambiguity and here and there an element will connect one story with a previous story. This perhaps was the first book that I couldn’t wait to finish because I was so exhilarated to read it again. My favorite story in the collection (read it even if it’s only in passing): “The Second Bakery Attack.”

Sometimes I find it difficult to describe Murakami and my attraction to his work. What I have read of his novels and stories always present a relatively standard and simple plot, but I suppose it’s his brilliance in taking these themes and infusing them with a dream-like quality that makes Murakami so appealing.


I love everything I’ve read of his, his stories are so beautiful. I’m not a huge fan of short stories, but you’re right, The Elephant Vanishes is captivating..

Comment by Michelle

I’m going to add this to my reading list.

Comment by seek and read

Michelle: It’s always good to find another Murakami fan! I have not read nearly as much of him as I should have and I definitely need to add more of his novels to my Bookmooch list.

seek and read: You’ll not be disappointed and I look forward to reading your comments.

Comment by bookchronicle

I have a Murakami book on my TBR list (Kafka on the Shore) and your thoughts make me really interested in reading it soon! What you describe is kind of how I feel about Kazou Ishiguro–except maybe the dream-like quality. Simple plots and writing but so intriguing for a reason I can’t quite put my finger on.

Comment by Trish

Trish: Thanks for the recommendation and I’ll have to see what I can dig up by Ishiguro. I’m not sure exactly why, but it seems a good deal of Japanese literature that I read does have a dream/surreal quality to it. Perhaps it’s influenced by Japanese literary traditions?

Comment by bookchronicle

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