I picked this book up at the supermarket while waiting in the line for checkout. Began reading it and couldn't put it down, so I bought it. A nice trick from the marketing of the supermarket... Anyway, as the book is quite short, I've finished it very quickly, and then a weird thing happened - I felt that I have to read it again. This has only happened to me once before, with Eugene Onegin. I did not read it again immediately this time though, but rather 2-3 books later, although I was certain that I should reread it and left it on the "unread" shelf. "After the quake" is a set of 6 short stories that are very loosely related by the fact that they all mention the catastrophic earthquake in the city of Kobe in 1995 (well, if you leave out the obvious connection of all the plots happening in Japan, of course). I would say that the main theme of the stories is that all the characters contemplate the basic questions of human existence and worth with this traumatic event in the background. Although the characters are very different (from a salesman who travels to the north of Japan on a weird mission after his wife has left him to a successful physician who spends a relaxing vacation in Thailand), there is definitely a binding line between their contemplations. I've only read one book of Murakami before (Norwegian Wood) and found it to be charming and thoughtful in a way I can't express precisely. I have the same feeling about this one. One thing I'm sure of is that I definitely liked it.

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