A collection of off-the-wall short stories by Japan's leading contemporary novelist. An elephant vanishes; hunger drives a couple to rob McDonalds; an insomniac wife wakes in a different world.
©1994 Haruki Murakami; (P)2006 Naxos AudioBooks
I was amazed at the variety and significance of this collection. Yes, if you stop at the first story then, no you may not like it but some of the best gems are later on...A couple of these stories were even able to help me readjust my paranoia about turning 30. :) The last one in particular is a terriffic small mystery that keeps you guessing. I enjoy stories that focus on quirky and flawed characters, this is an excellent example of such a collection. No, many of them dont "go" anywhere, or you feel as though it stops just at the best part, however, it definetly allows you to use your own imagination to fill in the blanks or finish the story.
I thoroughly enjoyed this collection, it was a terrific comanion piece to read just after Kafka on the Shore.
I really enjoyed this collection. Murakami has a wonderful way of painting characters with incredible detail. I especially loved the Dancing Dwarf, a story with so many unexpected twists it kept me completely intrigued. I would highly recommend this one.
All of Murakami's novels have been amazing, but with The Elephant Vanishes, the writer shows that he can handle the short story as well as his longer works.
With the exception of "The Wind Up Bird and Tuesday's Women," each of these stories stands alone as fantastic. (Note: the only reason I say this is because I can't break this story away from the masterpiece novel it later became.)
Moving on to "The Second Bakery Attack," this story relates just how little we sometimes know our significant others, albeit in an exaggerated way.
Probably my favorite story, however, was "The Last Lawn of the Afternoon." By the time this story ends, the ambiguity of the drunken housewife's motivations paired with the facts we know about her past leaves us wondering what kind of emotional pain she's really going through, and how our narrator helped her ease that pain in the long run.
Easily, this collection of 17 short stories can be seen as Murakami's best. Highly recommended for readers who enjoy their literature with a bit of strangeness added.
Stop listening to other people's opinions and form one of your own. That's sound advice, or not. It all depends on how literal you take it.
There comes a point for any good artist, where in their performance they must back off of their talent and come back to the basics in order not to lose sight of their main objective. I compare this book to listening to a great guitarist doing nothing but playing one long a&* solo for ten hours straight. The first twenty minutes you think, this is great... then you have the same pointless performance for another 9 hours and 40 minutes. ..... DRONE......
I want story, not your random thoughts flung across the page. If this guy was published for that, then someone get my name out to a publishing house. My cover letter.....
Today, the intercity traffic was yellow. Cars flowed by on the street and fragmented along in the reflections of the glass skyscrapers as if they were salmon fighting their way upstream. Mrs. _______ approached the edge of the sidewalk and glanced down at the tips of open-toed shoes. They were forest green, but she swore that she had put on a pair of red shoes this morning. Matter of fact she swore that this morning was still in its process of taking place. Wasn't it? Had she even rolled out of bed yet?
She couldn???t remember.
A passing car's horn brought her attention back to the street. The little white man in the black box across the road began to blink, and the group of pedestrians that stood around her stepped down from the curb. She stepped to the street and faulted and watched the three lead people in the group walking away from her. Her shoes where now white....n blah, blah, blah, blah, blah...... this goes on for about another six pages and then for the ending.
Mrs.____ returned to sleep.
Who cares! Pointless just like this whole series of short stories.
Waste your talent on someone else next time.
As with all stories collections, there are some you like, some you love and some you don't like.
The scope in imagination and quirkiness
the dancing dwarf - pure twin peaks!
For any fan of Murakami - if you're not familiar with his writing, be prepared for a little weirdness - but they're good
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The best way that I can describe these short stories in "The Elephant Vanishes" is the Twilight Zone from Japan. The book is a collection of weird, dark, and sexual stories from Haruki Murakami. It's not his best work by far. They are all missing Murakami's dementia of detail and character developments.
There is not enough of his weirdness in these stories. The stories fall short somewhere between of being an instant classic and something that he thought about in the subway.
I am being harsh because I have read almost all of his novels that Audible offers. I'm used to a lot more from this writer and felt somewhat disappointed on how each story ended. There is no real ending of each story that is being told.
All of the stories has no conclusion and just left the reader hanging and then move on to the next tale. I'm not really sure what was Murakami's motive, but most of the stories felt short.
This is not a good title to read for your first introduction of this author. It lacks in Haruki Murakami sick and twisted thoughts that is just beautiful to listen to.
The only bright point is the first story in the book. "The Wind-up Bird And Tuesday's Women" is a story base from "The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle",and Rupert Degas is the narrator. He is the best voice for Haruki Murakami's books. All other narrators are sub par at best.
What "Elephant" lacks in promised originality, it makes up for in unexpected-- and unwelcome-- sexual content and profanity. If you buy this one, do NOT listen to it with children in the vicinity. But it's really not worth it: stories that go nowhere can be okay, so long as they paint an engaging picture. Murakami fails to deliver with almost every story. Most of the readers sound like they're trying to muster unfelt enthusiasm as well. This is not the first modern Japanese I've "read" in translation, so I am not biased against Japanese.
To be honest, I only listened to the first twenty-five minutes of this audiobook. Initially it was slow and a bit dull. It then became quite pornographic, so I chose not to waste any more time listening. If the first story is reflective of the rest of the book, most readers will find it quite offensive.
"When I think about short stories?."
I met a cool guy for the first time, in a cool bar that I visited for only the second time last week. He?d read Kafka On The Shore and I felt cool because I knew Murakami?s work?did I betray myself or the writer in these feelings of self-pride? Well, yes, sort of. But he smoked rolled cigarettes and liked the 70?s rock music that a local band were playing
This collection of short stories are taken from the early to mid 1980s, pre-date Haruki Murakami?s substantive novels and are of real interest to those, like myself, who are taken with his much later and contemporary work. The patina of detachment runs through the narrative voice of all the stories, there are dips into a now familiar Kafka-esque world of invention and the style and flair of Fitzgerald. Measured only against Norwegian Wood and Dance, Dance, Dance it is true to say that this collection only glimpses the nascent talent which has come to dazzle ? but by any other standard that his own, each story is competent and some are bewilderingly brilliant.
Roll your own cigarettes and 70?s rock may never die?but the cool, crisp short story is an art form we can all love. And I did love this ? particularly The Dancing Dwarf.
"Weird In A Good Way"
If you like magical realism, Japan and stories that are quirky and sometimes desolate you'll love it.
"More from the weird world of Murakami"
If you want a taster of Murakami try these short stories. They will get you hooked. I've now read all his works. Who to read now?
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