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.
Some of the stories in this collection originally appeared in the following publications: The Magazine (Mobil Corp.): "The Fall of the Roman Empire, the 1881 Indian Uprising, Hitler's Invasion of Poland, and the Realm of the Raging Winds" (in a previous translation; translated in this volume by Alfred Birnbaum), The New Yorker: "TV People" and "The Wind-up Bird and Tuesday's Women" (translated by Alfred Birnbaum), "The Elephant Vanishes", and "Sleep" (translated by Jay Rubin), and "Barn Burning" (in a previous translation; translated in this volume by Alfred Birnbaum) Playboy: "The Second Bakery Attack" (translated by Jay Rubin, January 1992).
"These stories show us Japan as it's experienced from the inside.... [They] take place in parallel worlds not so much remote from ordinary life as hidden within its surfaces.... Even in the slipperiest of Mr. Murakami's stories, pinpoints of detail flash out... warm with life, hopelessly–and wonderfully–unstable." (The New York Times Book Review)
"Enchanting... intriguing... all of these tales have a wonderfully surreal quality and a hip, witty tone. Mr. Murakami has pulled off a tricky feat, writing stories about people who are bored but never boring. He left me lying awake at night, hungry for more." (Wall Street Journal)
"Eerie, unsettling.... [A] wonderful combination of the bizarre and the mundane." (Village Voice Literary Supplement)
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