So, I will be honest here. I have not been reading much these past few months because I just haven’t felt like it. The end of the year is fast approaching, and Goodreads is reminding me that I am behind on my reading challenge. That means you’re in for short book reviews until the end of the year!
After the Quake is a collection of short stories by Haruki Murakami. Murakami is known for his surreal narratives, but I found these short stories a bit more grounded than some of his other work. All six stories in this collection have some connection to the Kobe earthquake. Most deal with the aftermath and psychological trauma that the characters face. It is an interesting look at how characters not directly in the path of natural disasters can still be strained or even hurt by the event.
I would say that this is my least favorite Murakami so far. Since I loved both novels I have read by him, that isn’t to say I disliked this collection. None of the stories or characters really stuck with me. This is such a short collection (134 pages in the edition I read), so that could be part of it. I felt like I only got a small taste of the plots and characters. Each story was unique and evoked emotion in me, but I find it hard to remember details about all but a few individual stories. Basically, I wanted more development all around. I’m a greedy reader.
This may not be my favorite Murakami or my favorite short story collection, but it is well worth your time if you want to explore Japan or have interest in exploring the effects of disasters on regular (if surreal) people.