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.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
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I think when you read Murakami back to back, you get this odd sense of how similar many of his characters are in terms of their brandy drinking, Russian novel reading, spaghetti eating sense but how different they can be as well. This one is filled with disappearing women and elephants (as well as an elephant factory), a newly married couple who attacks bakeries (and a McDonalds as a fall back plan), the 100% perfect girl and matches that weren't ever made, lawns that are mowed, dancing dwarves that get into your dreams and your soul, the was a feeling of fear that everyone will think him dishonest can infect the heart of a boxer, and a marriage that just can't continue after the husband requests lederhosen. You meet a whole cast of very interesting characters at all different points of their lives.
I can't say for sure if any of these stories changed my life or my viewpoints on life but they are memorable and I can see them creeping up on my memory from time to time. Still, he doesn't write the kind of stories that I love absolutely best: Flannery O'Connor #1, #2 John Cheever Ray #3 Bradbury #4 Roald Dahl #5 O'Henry.
Still, these are not too shabby to say the least.more
Interestingly, the same names appear ... so one is given a glimpse of his novel's characters outside of their novels.
The first story is excerpted from Wind-Up Bird Chronicle. And if you haven't read this yet, well, I guess you will want to after having read this anthology!more