After the Quake by Haruki Murakami can best be described as elegant. It is a series of short stories involving characters whose lives were somehow impacted by the earthquake in Kobe, Japan. It is not a book about survivors in the traditional sense – the characters were not pulled-from-the-rubble survivors, but individuals whose lives were touched in a more roundabout way. So the earthquake is kind of the common theme among the stories and the stories portray the characters’ different way of dealing with it.
Some of the short stories were depressing (as you can probably imagine) and one is really bizarre and I couldn’t figure out what was going on. (A giant frog comes to visit a guy to ask him to help fight a giant worm.) But I really liked the last story and it seemed like Murakami wanted to end the series on a hopeful, inspiring note. The last story is all about love.
This was a pretty cool book. I had not realized that the 1001 Books included some sets of short stories.