Widely renowned as one of the greatest writers of our modern era, Haruki Murakami wrote After the Quake after the catastrophic Kobe earthquake in 1995. The collection of short stories was first published in Japan in 2000, with an English translation by Jay Rubin released in 2002.
After the Quake features 6 short stories: "UFO in Kushiro", "Landscape with Flatiron", "All God's Children Can Dance", "Thailand", "Super-Frog Saves Tokyo", and "Honey Pie". Each story covers a different perspective on the Kobe earthquake, featuring different stories of characters affected psychologically by the disaster, even those not directly in the line of attack. As Translator Jay Rubin notes: "The central characters in After the Quake live far from the physical devastation, which they witness only on TV or in the papers, but for each of them the massive destruction unleashed by the earth itself becomes a turning point in their lives. They are forced to confront an emptiness they have borne inside them for years."
The collection of stories in After the Quake is a powerful look at human emotions in the face of tragedy. The characters experience a variety of reactions, including fear, uncertainty, and sadness. Murakami's nuances in the stories create a vivid representation of how people cope with disaster. The characters make decisions at the moment that they may not otherwise have made, and the collection as a whole is an exploration of the human spirit in the face of devastation. The stories also touch on themes of family, love, and identity, further exploring the complexities of human emotion in the face of disaster. With its simple yet profound exploration of human emotions, After the Quake is a powerful and moving work that will stay with readers long after they finish reading.
After the Quake was a work that further cemented Murakami's position as an influential writer of the Japanese spirit. Several of the stories have received theater, video, and radio adaptions, and in general, the collection was well-received.