Item description for The Elephant Vanishes (Classic Fiction) by Rupert Degas...
When a man's favourite elephant vanishes, the balance of his whole life is subtly upset; a couple's midnight hunger pangs drive them to hold up a McDonald's; a woman finds she is irresistible to a small green monster that burrows through her front garden; an insomniac wife wakes up to a twilight world of semi-consciousness in which anything seems possible - even death. In every one of the stories that make up The Elephant Vanishes, Murakami makes a determined assault on the normal. He has a deadpan genius for dislocating realities to uncover the surreal in the everday, the extraordinary in the ordinary.
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Studio: Naxos Audiobooks
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 5.51" Width: 5.04" Height: 1.97" Weight: 0.93 lbs.
Release Date Jun 30, 2006
Publisher Naxos Audiobooks
ISBN 9626344067 ISBN13 9789626344064
Reviews - What do customers think about The Elephant Vanishes (Classic Fiction)?
Bizzaro surrealism at its best May 1, 2009
After reading a number of Murakami novels, I find this collection of short stories to be a refreshing change of pace. The stories still possess a magical quality that is uniquely Murakami, but it has a more satisfying feel to all the stories. They don't all necessarily make much sense, but I loved immersing myself totally in the stories. I will definitely read them again in the future!
Lovely Apr 9, 2009
Though I've been a Murakami fan for quite some time, this is the first (but not the last) short story collection of his that I've read. Somehow, I didn't think one would be able to convey as much as his novels do in several thousand words - but these short stories are like reading only the best parts of a Murakami novel, without a lot of the background noise (history) that he likes to provide. They carry all the beauty and elegance of a full length Murakami novel. Really, just lovely. Definitely my favorite Murakami work to date - novels, short story collections, and memoirs included!
Bell-like clarity Feb 25, 2009
This collection is one of Murakami's best. The stories are diverse but unified by an often whimsical absurdity. His voice is very different than the sullen whine of Western post-modernists. In fact, I don't consider Murakami a post-modernist at all. His writing is too concerned with the exuberance of living and the possibility of finding sense in a seemingly senseless world. His stories don't explicitly deliver "truth" but ring with the paradoxical clarity of a zen koan.
There is a cultured naiveté to his work that is entirely refreshing compared to the often exhausting, over-wrought prose of a Raymond Carver or an Anne Enright.
Finally, a novelist who can get his short fiction published Dec 25, 2008
A collection of stories, that ends with the surreal "the Elephant Vanishes" about a totally ordinary guy who works for a P.R. department of an electrical company (the same guy appears in many stories throughout the book) who thinks he may have watched an elephant in the early stages of shrinking into nothingness. Surreal, but not in a good way, in a very boring way.
Having read a bunch of Murakami's books, I can identify easily the two characters Murakami writes about: the ordinary guy who's married, but whose wife disappears, and the ordinary single guy who drinks too much and likes to play the field. Murakami likes to try to change his stories, but somehow his style is nearly always the same. A guy wakes up, makes toast, thinks about what he's going to do that day. At some point in the story he has a cigarette, he drinks a beer, he thinks about sex, he puts on some Coltrane.
But some of the stories are fun, and the one about the guy who burns barns is in fact mysterious and chilling. There are some interesting phrases throughout. "One morning after New Year's, my mother called me at nine o'clock. I was brushing my teeth to Bruce Springsteen's `Born in the U.S.A.'" Brushing your teeth to the tune of Born in the U.S.A.? Then there are interesting, poetic closing lines to stories. "When I closed my eyes, sleep floated down on me like a dark, silent net."
Of course, there are also totally useless passages. "The door was locked, I think, but I can't be certiain. Maybe I forgot to lock it. It really wasn't foremost in my thoughts at the time, so who knows? Still, I think the door was locked." A writer could fill page after page of `did I lock the door?' Other passages are even worse. "Curiously, the wife makes no mentoin of the appearance of the television set in the apartment. No reaction at all. Zero. It's as if she doesn't even see it. Creepy. Because, as I said before, she's extremely fussy about the order and arrangement of furniture and other things. If someone dares to move anything in the apartment, even by a hair, shel'll jump on it in an instant. That's her ascendancy. She knits her brows, then gets things back the way they were." Of course, it's all in the translation, and I don't know what `that's here ascendancy' is supposed to mean anyway (could somebody translate this phrase to me?). And what's the point of using the phrase `as I said before' in a book? Or any time, for that matter?!
Some of his lines are quite good. In a story about a guy who cuts lawns, there is the line "a couple of times I got a hard-on, then it would go away. Pretty ridiculous, getting a hard-on just mowing a lawn." A few of the story are really very good, like "The Dancing Dwarf" and "Silence." Overall, still a pretty frustrating read from a terribly overrated writer.
Intriguing novel Nov 11, 2008
This was my first introduction to the works of Murakami, it is a collection of short stories. It is a fantastic book, the stories are abstract and unusual however this adds to their allure. Murakami is a genius, he has a unique way of looking at things. I've since become an avid reader of his books. I highly recommend this.