The Elephant Vanishes

Haruki Murakami

About the book

The Elephant Vanishes (象の消滅, Zō no shōmetsu) is a collection of 17 short stories by Japanese author Haruki Murakami. The stories were written between 1980 and 1991 and published in Japan in various magazines.

In these tales, 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; a young woman discovers that she has become irresistible to a little green monster who burrows up through her backyard; or a woman tells of her mother's divorce, prompted by a trip to buy some lederhosen in Germany as a souvenir for her husband who has remained at home in Tokyo. The shop refuses to sell her any as her husband is not there to be fitted, so she finds a stranger of the same size.

Far away from Pretzels and Lederhosen, most of the short stories are magic guides to discover Tokyo. For instance "On Seeing the 100% Perfect Girl One Beautiful April Morning", in which a Tokyo man tells of passing the "100% perfect girl" for him in a Harajuku neighborhood. 

By turns haunting and hilarious, in The Elephant Vanishes Murakami crosses the border between separate realities—and comes back bearing remarkable treasures.

ISBN: 978-0-679-75053-6

Whether Haruki Murakami’s hero is ironing a shirt, drinking a cold beer or making a stir fry of beef and sprouts, I feel woven into the mysterious fabric of another world. 

The first thing I ever read of his was the short story, “On Seeing the 100% Perfect Girl One Beautiful April Morning”. I’ve read it many times since. It’s about love, memory, is there a perfect other for you, lost chances, stories within stories. My heart breaks and the little hairs on my arm bristle as the two lovers meant to be together pass each other on a crowded street in Tokyo.

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