Author: Haruki Murakami
Publish Date: September 2003
What's the Story?:
From Goodreads.com: "In spite of the
perpetrators' intentions, the Tokyo gas attack left only twelve people
dead, but thousands were injured and many suffered serious
after-effects. Murakami interviews the victims to try and establish
precisely what happened on the subway that day. He also interviews
members and ex-members of the doomsdays cult responsible, in the hope
that they might be able to explain the reason for the attack and how it
was that their guru instilled such devotion in his followers."
My Two Cents:
reading "Underground," I had never read any non-fiction from Haruki
Murakami. His fiction books are some of my favorites and if you know
Murakami, you know that magical realism is part of so many of his
fiction books so I was interested to see how his non-fiction was where
there wouldn't be any magical realism.
This book is about the
sarin gas attacks that happened in Tokyo in the mid-nineties. I vaguely
remember when this happened but was quite young so I didn't really
understand what had happened. As a frequent rider of public
transportation now, this event still makes me quite fearful. As Murakami
points out, it is still very much on the minds of the Japanese people
as well. Murakami interviews various people that were affected in the
gas attack. He also interviews some of the cult members and former cult
members that carried out this horrendous event. These people come from
all walks of life and were affected in different ways, which really gave
me a well-rounded perspective of what the event meant as a whole to the
populace of Japan.
Even after the event occurred, so many of
the victims faced issues. Many of them were affected by the gas and it
changed the way they were able to function and interact with the world. I
was struck by the lack of understanding that the victims faced from
those around them who were not directly affected by the attacks.
Murakami looks at this event from all angles to help readers understand
the human side of this event. A good read!