The Elephant Vanishes

The Elephant Vanishes

by Haruki Murakami
4.3 15

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Overview

The Elephant Vanishes by Haruki Murakami

With the same deadpan mania and genius for dislocation that he brought to his internationally acclaimed novels A Wild Sheep Chase and Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World, Haruki Murakami makes this collection of stories a determined assault on the normal. A man sees his favorite elephant vanish into thin air; a newlywed couple suffers attacks of hunger that drive them to hold up a McDonald's in the middle of the night; and a young woman discovers that she has become irresistible to a little green monster who burrows up through her backyard.

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780307762733
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 08/11/2010
Series: Vintage International
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 281,159
File size: 3 MB

About the Author

Haruki Murakami is the author of many novels as well as short stories and non-fiction. His books include Norwegian Wood, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, Kafka on the Shore, 1Q84, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage, The Strange Library and Wind/Pinball. His work has been translated into more than 50 languages, and the most recent of his many international honours are the Jerusalem Prize and Hans Christian Andersen Literature Award.

Hometown:

Tokyo, Japan

Date of Birth:

January 12, 1949

Place of Birth:

Kyoto, Japan

Education:

Waseda University, 1973

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The Elephant Vanishes 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 15 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Americans seem to be fascinated by the culture of Japan. We wonder endlessly about a group of islands that can produce things as diverse as Noh drama, zen gardens and Nintendo games. American writers, too, can't seem to get enough of Japan, e.g., Jay McInerney, John Burnham Schwartz and Michael Crichton. Haruki Murakami, one of the most original and brilliant authors writing today, gives us an entirely different look at life in Japan in his collection of short stories, The Elephant Vanishes. These stories show us Japan 'from the inside.' What might seem exotic to both Americans and Europeans, such as oyster hot pot or pillows filled with buckwheat husks, becomes, in these stories, the stuff of everyday life. In fact, Haruki Marakami's Japan could be 'anyplace,' and one has to read eleven pages into this collection before the first reference to Japan is ever made. In The Elephant Vanishes, Murakami's narrators are as much 'Everyman' as are the narrators of his novels. They are young, urban and charmingly downwardly mobile. And, they are more likely to eat a plate of spaghetti than soba noodles. They listen to Wagner and Herbie Hancock but eschew Japanese rock music. They read Len Deighton and War and Peace rather than Kobo Abe and The Tale of the Genji. They are Japanese, to be sure, but all their points of reference seem to be exclusively Western and signature Murakami. In the world of Haruki Murakami, bizarre events take place with striking regularity and, also with strikingly regularity, they are accepted as simply the stuff of everyday life. In The Wind-Up Bird and Tuesday's Women, the narrator's search for a missing cat leads him to a closed-off and neglected alleyway passing between the backyards of parallel houses. Here, he encounters a sunbathing teenage girl who mimics the alleyway in that she is both ordinary and alien. In A Window, a correspondence school writing teacher pays a visit to a pupil, a married woman in her early thirties. They spend their time eating hamburgers and listening to Burt Bacharach. Nothing much happens; in fact, the thing the narrator remembers most is the lovely weather and the colorful array of sheets and futons drying over the railings of the building's verandahs. Like many of Murakami's protagonists, what these two share is absent more than it is present. Many of these stories seem more than a little fabulistic. The Dancing Dwarf is a good example. This story takes place in an impressively efficient factory that manufactures, of all things, elephants. The protagonist just happens to be assigned to the ear section during his narration of the story, working in that part of the building with the yellow ceiling and the yellow posts. His helmet and pants also happen to be yellow. The month before, however, he had been assigned to the green building and he had worn a green helmet and green pants and had made heads. TV People is a bizarre story that involves human mutants reduced by twenty to thirty percent, something that made them look far away even when close up. When these mutants invade both the narrator's home and office and begin to deny his very existence, he begins to doubt it as well. And, in The Elephant Vanishes, the haunting title story, an elephant actually disappears, with its keeper, from an enclosure where it has been kept as a mascot for a Tokyo suburb. The solution to the mystery, like all of Murakami's mysteries is not clear cut but hinges on a matter of perspective and proportion instead. Parallel worlds abound in these stories; this is ordinary life, but ordinary life fraught with unexpected and unsettling views. In the stories that make up The Elephant Vanishes, Murakami is doing what he does so wonderfully: pointing out how much of life is hidden beneath the surface, how much is truly unknowable. In Sleep, a young woman suddenly finds she no longer needs it. Rather than question her sudden awakening, she focuses instead o
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I just had to keep reading this book. Each story had me pulled in and wanting more from each tale. This book is the reason I picked up The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle. I would recommend this book to everyone!
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GettheFacts More than 1 year ago
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Guest More than 1 year ago
Great to read out of boredom, over a nice period of time. The stories were thought stirring and interesting. Better than After The Quake, in my opinion. But still, they are short stories, so of course there is not too much character development. Yet, highly reccomended nonetheless.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Complex and offbeat. This set of tales is usually about people bored with the routine in their lives and in the process of making unusual or drastic changes or have some sort of supernatural or alternate universe experience. Shakes up reality. Flawed, self-absorbed characters which are not easy to like add to his edge. Great read, especially if you like something unusual and smart.