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.