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Thursday, 31 January 2013

The Elephant Vanishes – Haruki Murakami

This collection of 15 stories from a popular Japanese writer, perhaps best known in this country for A Wild Sheep Chase, gives a nice idea of his breadth of style. The work maintains the matter-of-fact tone reminiscent of American detective fiction, balancing itself somewhere between the spare realism of Raymond Carver and the surrealism of Kobo Abe. These are not the sort of stories that one thinks of as “Japanese “; the intentionally Westernized style and well-placed reference to pop culture gives them a contemporary and universal feel. Engaging, thought-provoking, humorous, and slyly profound, these skillfulstories will easily appeal to American readers but must present something of a challenge to the Japanese cultural establishment. At their best, however, they serve to dispel cultural stereotypes and reveal a common humanity. Recommended for libraries with an interest in contemporary fiction. Unabridged. Read by Walter Lewis , John Chancer , Teresa Gallagher and Jeff Peterson.

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