Synopsis of After the Quake by Haruki Murakami: The economy was booming. People had more money than they knew what to do with. And then, the earthquake struck. Komura's wife follows the TV reports from morning to night, without eating or sleeping. The same images appear again and again: flames, smoke, buildings turned to rubble, their inhabitants dead, cracks in the streets, derailments, crashes, collapsed expressways, crushed subways, fires everywhere. Pure hell. Suddenly, a city seems a fragile thing. And life too. Tomorrow anything could happen.
For the characters in Murakami's latest short story collection, the Kobe earthquake is an echo from a past they buried long ago. Satsuki has spent 30 years hating one man: a lover who destroyed her chances of having children, and who now lives in Kobe. Did her desire for revenge cause the earthquake? Junpei's estranged parents also live in Kobe. Should he contact them? Miyake left his family in Kobe to make midnight bonfires on a beach hundreds of miles away. Four-year-old Sala has nightmares that the Eathquake man is trying to stuff her inside a little box. Katagiri returns home to find a giant frog in his apartment on a mission to save Tokyo from a massive worm burrowing under the Tokyo Security Trust Bank. "When he gets angry, he causes earthquakes" says Frog. "And right now he is very, very angry."
My thoughtsMy second Murakami book after The Wind-up Bird Chronicle. His short stories prove that he doesn't have the same storylines and same themes. It was eerie reading Wind-up Bird then Kafka on the Shore one after the other ... there were so many parallels that I didn't enjoy Kafka on the Shore as much as I would have liked.
After the Quake made me feel empty, alone, isolated. It's a very lonely book. I don't recommend reading this if you are depressed; it'll only worsen your depression.