By Haruki Murakami
Even when Murakami is writing about dull moments, there is never a dull moment in his work. This collection of short stories is filled with Murakami’s usual hallmarks – boring jobs, strange creatures, confused people – and certainly continues his project of capturing the pangs of modern life.
The stories in The Elephant Vanishes are not as connected as the ones in after the quake, and I think that is one reason why they did not move me as much. But there were certainly enough moments of clarity, of classic Murakami perception, to keep me reading.
Highlights include “The Second Bakery Attack”, in which a conventional couple rob a McDonald’s in the middle of the night with understated hilarity, and “A Slow Boat to China”. For me, this story nails the weirdness of difference.