Tuesday, July 27, 2004


Haruki Murakami has written a number of brilliant novels, including The Wind-Up Bird Chronicles and Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World, but I've recently been reading a non-fiction book he wrote about the sarin gas attacks in the Tokyo subway system by the Aum religious cult in 1994. The book is called Underground, and in it, Murakami interviews a large number of survivors of the attacks. What makes this book so remarkable, besides the interview themselves, is the technique he employs for presentation. He groups the interviews by incident, so that there may be ten different perspectives on the same attack. Each interview, by itself, is a very thin piece, but as these pieces overlap, they become more substantial, and the intersection of memories creates a Rashomon-like effect that is stunning as you realize what is happening. It's a memorable experience.

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