The Elephant Vanishes

Stories
Length: 10 hrs and 31 mins
4.1 out of 5 stars (142 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

With the same deadpan mania and genius for dislocation that he brought to his internationally acclaimed novels A Wild Sheep Chase and Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World, Haruki Murakami makes this collection of stories a determined assault on the normal. A man sees his favorite elephant vanish into thin air; a newlywed couple suffers attacks of hunger that drive them to hold up a McDonald's in the middle of the night; and a young woman discovers that she has become irresistible to a little green monster who burrows up through her backyard.

By turns haunting and hilarious, The Elephant Vanishes is further proof of Murakami's ability to cross the border between separate realities - and to come back bearing treasure.

Some of the stories in this collection originally appeared in the following publications: The Magazine (Mobil Corp.): "The Fall of the Roman Empire, the 1881 Indian Uprising, Hitler's Invasion of Poland, and the Realm of the Raging Winds" (in a previous translation; translated in this volume by Alfred Birnbaum), The New Yorker: "TV People" and "The Wind-up Bird and Tuesday's Women" (translated by Alfred Birnbaum), "The Elephant Vanishes", and "Sleep" (translated by Jay Rubin), and "Barn Burning" (in a previous translation; translated in this volume by Alfred Birnbaum) Playboy: "The Second Bakery Attack" (translated by Jay Rubin, January 1992).

©1994 Haruki Murakami (P)2013 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"These stories show us Japan as it's experienced from the inside.... [They] take place in parallel worlds not so much remote from ordinary life as hidden within its surfaces.... Even in the slipperiest of Mr. Murakami's stories, pinpoints of detail flash out... warm with life, hopelessly–and wonderfully–unstable." ( The New York Times Book Review)
"Enchanting... intriguing... all of these tales have a wonderfully surreal quality and a hip, witty tone. Mr. Murakami has pulled off a tricky feat, writing stories about people who are bored but never boring. He left me lying awake at night, hungry for more." ( Wall Street Journal)
"Eerie, unsettling.... [A] wonderful combination of the bizarre and the mundane." ( Village Voice Literary Supplement)

What listeners say about The Elephant Vanishes

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dull

I'm not sure if this book was poorly translated.. but it is the dullest book in have ever read. Completely redundant and lacks originality. If I knew I could return an audible purchase I definitely would've sent this back.

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Pretty bad

I don't know if its the bad narration here or what that makes this so entirely bad. There are multiple narrators and particularly there is this one guy who talks in this way where he sounds like a snooty pseudo-intellectual wearing a bow-tie or something. Reads it like he's talking to a child too. But also, I think this author might be SUPER OVER-RATED. You can't type 'surreal books' into a search engine without seeing his name. I feel like it lend to imitators that might saturate the market with really shallow prose. Reminds me when a person goes to art school and instead of thinking about their artwork and really contemplated it they pull that cheap hippie-dippy move of "I just get out the canvas and just let it flow through me, man". Well I tell you what that sounds more like the process of taking a shit than crafting a work of art to me. His style sounds like he's just making this stuff up on the spot. Not in any truely hypnotic or symbolic way that someone like Lewis Carroll might. It literally sounds like he sits down in a cafe or something and goes, "Okay time to get the ole' genius brain going. What do we write about today? hmm..." (Looks around) "Ah, Hamburger Steak... but it wasn't an ordinary hamburger steak noooo." Like, get out of here with that. Pssh.