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Haruki Murakami, a writer both mystical and hip, is the West’s favorite Japanese novelist. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Murakami lived abroad until 1995. That year, two disasters struck Japan: the lethal earthquake in Kobe and the deadly poison gas attacks in the Tokyo subway. Spurred by these tragic events, Murakami returned home. The stories in After the Quake are set in the months that fell between the earthquake and the subway attack, presenting a world marked by despair, hope, and a kind of human instinct for transformation. A teenage girl and a middle-aged man share a hobby of making beach bonfires; a businesswoman travels to Thailand and, quietly, confronts her own death; three friends act out a modern-day Tokyo version of Jules and Jim.
In this enviable gathering, Haruki Murakami has chosen for his party some of the very best short story writers of recent years, each with their own birthday experiences, each story a snapshot of life on a single day. Including stories by Russell Banks, Ethan Canin, Raymond Carver, David Foster Wallace, Denis Johnson, Claire Keegan, Andrea Lee, Daniel Lyons, Lewis Robinson, Lynda Sexson, Paul Theroux, William Trevor and Haruki Murakami, this anthology captures a range of emotions evoked by advancing age and the passing of time, from events fondly recalled to the impact of appalling tragedy.