There is a rawness in Haruki Murakami’s work. The kind that connects with your heart, and seeps into your soul. The very kind that communicates with you in a way that can’t be put down into words. It is, in stead, a natural process. Like when you are standing at the edge of a cliff, against the mountain wind, caressing your hair, face, body. If you deconstruct this feeling down, it is pretty ordinary. But in the whole, it is magical.
After the quake, a collection of six short stories, is yet another such work by Murkami.
Set at the time of catastrophic 1995 Kobe earthquake in Japan, when the whole country woke up to a rude reality about the fragility of their existence, the story touches upon the connected thread. It tells the life of the people living far away from the physical epicenter, but whose lives and existences are still deeply entwined with that earthquake.
Six different stories, six different lives. And each written so beautifully, with so much feelings, that you’ll love each of the characters. Whether it’s a man whose wife disappears after six days of watching earthquake news on TV, or a woman who is secretly wishing her husband to be one of the causalities of that earthquake, each one of the character lays their heart and soul so much that you feel their existence.
All of the stories score perfect 5/5 for me, but it is the last one, The honey pie, in which Murkami is in his element. Laying bare emotions is his forte, and in this story of three friends, their connected lives, their love and understanding for each other, has really raised up the notch for the short story genre.
As a person who read his weekly quota of books, I always let my eyes wander to the bottom left corner of my kindle paperwhite, checking my progress. But reading After the quake, I was surprised to see when I reached the end, as I’d hardly checked my progress.
Such is the power of Murakami’s story telling. His power over the sentences and the syntax.
A must read, for the Murakmi Lover, for this work of his hasn’t garnered as much publicity as his other work like Kafka on the shore, or The windup bird chronicle. And for other readers who are yet to enter the dream world of Hurakami, I think it is the right place to start.
Also published on Medium.