From Haruki Murakami, internationally acclaimed author of The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle and Norwegian Wood, a work of literary journalism that is as fascinating as it is necessary, as provocative as it is profound.
In March of 1995, agents of a Japanese religious cult attacked the Tokyo subway system with sarin, a gas 26 times as deadly as cyanide. Attempting to discover why, Murakami conducted hundreds of interviews with the people involved, from the survivors to the perpetrators to the relatives of those who died, and Underground is their story in their own voices. Concerned with the fundamental issues that led to the attack as well as these personal accounts, Underground is a document of what happened in Tokyo as well as a warning of what could happen anywhere. This is an enthralling and unique work of nonfiction that is timely and vital and as wonderfully executed as Murakami’s brilliant novels.
©1997 Haruki Murakami (P)2013 Random House Audio
“Chilling...Murakami weaves a compelling true tale of normal lives faced with abnormal realities.” (Sunday Tribune)
“Powerfully observed. . . . A rattling chronicle of violence and terror.” (Kirkus Reviews)
“Through Murakami’s sensitive yet relentless questioning, it emerges that the people who joined Aum felt just as adrift in the world as Murakami’s own [fictional] characters do.” (The Guardian)
Putting books on the back burner.
I really wanted to give high marks to Haruki Murakami for reporting the victims' stories about the Tokyo subway sarin attack in 1995, "Underground", but I almost couldn't listen to any of their stories anymore. I found that Haruki Murakami's reporting style to be very bland and boring. After a while there was too many of the victims' stories all bunch together, where I found it tiresome to listen to.
As for the interviews of Aum Shinrikyo's members, it was interesting, but I preferred hearing from the victims instead. Maybe it's because the passive style of reporting from the Japanese culture or maybe Haruki Murakami is a really bad interviewer, but he should not write nonfiction anymore.
He is awful as a reporter.
This book just dragged on. I was really hoping to give at least three stars, but it's two stars at best.
There is one compelling story that I liked the most. It was about the housewife when she found out that her husband was one of the casualties. Her in laws came by train to the hospital to see their dead son. The family got closer and life went on, but his daughter will never know her father.
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