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L'elefante scomparso e altri racconti

3.89  ·  Rating Details ·  26,738 Ratings  ·  1,531 Reviews
Diciassette racconti narrano un bizzarro universo di situazioni al limite della normalità, i cui protagonisti, diversi di carattere ma simili per attitudini e sensibilità, hanno tutti un identico codice, l'accettazione del disordine, e una stessa manchevolezza, la fragilità della ragione. A casa, nei loro interni urbanizzati, dove accanto al televisore sempre acceso si sti ...more
Paperback, Super ET, 316 pages
Published February 16th 2009 by Einaudi (first published March 31st 1993)
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Adriana Rosana,

Murakami is a writer that is not for every type of person. He has a very specific type of writing, like Quetin Tarantino has his very…more

Murakami is a writer that is not for every type of person. He has a very specific type of writing, like Quetin Tarantino has his very Tarnatinish style, or Pink Floyd is very Pink Floyd and nothing else; He is that type of writer that you may think, is easy to read, but is not, is not the fast food of books, is not Dan Brown. Is neither extremely hard to read, like some classics, where people just assumes that they understand what the author wrote because they HAVE to, is a thing of pride between readers, like Fausto by Goethe, or even Kafka (You have people saying: this book is about... like they totally know what it is about, but we still swimming searching for answers in the middle of the Kafka ocean).

People can hate or love Murakami, that’s it, and that is going to happen to you. Those who are in between are never satisfy with his work, or can't understand his work. The in between, that for my is a chocolate with mint, doesn't work; I may eat it because is chocolate, but I rather not to because chocolate and mint don't go together, not for me.

If you read Murakami with the idea that you are going to understand everything that it is happening, then you are reading the wrong author. His books are not for the type of reader that likes everything like smash potatoes, neither for those that like clear explanations, big finales, nit lines. If you read his books, don't link yourself to what people say in other comments (not even this comment), don't link yourself to 'professional' reviews, don't get an idea of what to expect, just enjoy, like when you try a dish for the first time. If you are planning to eat something, but you believe the reviews that say that 50% of the people thinks that the dish taste like boogers, then is going to taste like boogers (and we don't even want to admit, but boogers have verily any flavor -I ate a few when I was a kid-). Vargas Llosa may be a good author, but his opinion about this author or any other author doesn't make him a good reader, because there is not a "good reader", that doesn’t exist. Like with boogers or chocolate and mint. I don't find Murakami "frivolous" all the opposite, it makes me wander inside/outside, a warm wandering; I don't think he lacks of purpose, for me, in my life, his books are full of purpose... I'm totally in love with Murakami’s work, but some times, like in love, I just want to slap him on the face (not literally of curse, is a figuratively use of my frustrated love with some of his paragraphs in some of his books ;) ).

Pick any other of his first books, maybe one of short stories that he writes/shares for The New Yorker (, like Kino or Samsa in Love. And be ready to let your imagination create shapes and forms in an empty canvas. Let your mind paint what you read, imagine, imagine, and keep imagining, the color of the skin, the smells, flavors, face expressions, the tone of the voice, the description of spaces and no-spaces, and if there is something that you don't get, do a Vasili Kandinski type of thing, filling with lines and shapes that space that is full of "I don't get it"... then, just keep reading it, keep enjoying it. If after reading a few of the short stories you think you can take more, then move to a bigger book, if you don't get it at all, and Murakami is tasting like boogers, then don't read any more.(less)

Community Reviews

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Some authors excel at writing novels. Others excel at the short form. A few are equally adept at writing novels and short stories. From my reading of The Elephant Vanishes, Haruki Murakami is not one of those people. Here’s why:

Murakami’s novels are lush affairs. By that I mean that his proto-typically lazy character has time. Time to develop interests, time to contemplate deeply, time to be affected, to become . . . something. The short form, by its very nature, does not allow the same luxuries
Fiona McCandless

Every protagonist in Murakami's books (though, I've only read this and 'Norwegian Wood') are apathetic. They just float through their lives, never really caring about what is happening, or if there is anything they can do to fix it.
I think to some readers this could be quite tedious, but there is something real about these characters because of their apathy. Through the bizarre situations the characters face, the reader can relate on some level.

The first few stories did annoy me, as man
Jun 24, 2008 Oriana rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not only was the book amazing (I truly believe he can do no wrong), but one of my best friends and I saw an actual play of it several years ago at Lincoln Center. We had seats in the very front row. The play (as required, I'm sure) was balls-out crazy, all in Japanese, with a ticker doing subtitles at the the top of the stage. My memory sucks, but I think I recall a bunch of people with static-spewing TVs for heads, and some crazy shit with sideways sleeping people. Probably I should reread the ...more
Dec 24, 2014 Junta rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Murakami beginners, People looking for a good short story collection
One cloudy night in April, in a habitual relay of stalking the profiles of strangers on GR, I found The 100% Perfect Girl.

To be truthful, she wasn't especially beautiful in her profile picture. Nor did any particular part of her profile jump out at me. Her bookshelves were all over the place, and she didn't seem to be that active on GR any more. She hadn't written many reviews either. However, the moment I clicked on 'Compare Books', I knew. She is The 100% Perfect Girl for me. When I saw that o
Edward Lorn
Nov 10, 2015 Edward Lorn rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebook
This is my third Haruki Murakami read and by far my least favorite. After Norwegian Wood and After Dark, I felt this author could do no wrong. Those two novels were vastly different from each other - one a simplistic-yet-moving coming-of-age story and the other a mindtrip into the streets and characters of nocturnal Japan - and I was hoping some of that mastery of story would show up in each one of these tales. I was sorely mistaken.

My rating is based solely on the fact that I only liked 7 out
Feb 22, 2014 Sujeet rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories, japan
You too can write like Murakami. Just remember the simple rules -

1) Think of something weird. Multiply the weirdness by 10.
I haven't slept for last 16 nights and 17days. Today is the 17th night. I couldn't sleep. I tried. But failed. I typed in Google Search "Insomnia". It took me to the Christopher Nolan's movie. I didn't watch that movie. I like Christopher Nolan, though. So does my cat. My cat doesn't watch any TV. But whenever a Christopher Nolan movie comes he gets glued to the TV. We all
Like the secretive, quiet fall of rain,
they steal into the gloom...

They say that surrealist author Haruki Murakami captures the 'common ache' of the 'contemporary heart and mind'. I thought this was a pretty spot-on description of some of his best short stories. I began reading Murakami in 2007, and he was a writer whose work and style resonated so strongly for me at that time where I'm confronted with the ambiguities of daily existence. He will always hold a special place in my heart as one
Nov 22, 2015 Chris_P rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: haruki-murakami

The wind-up bird and Tuesday's women: ****
The second bakery attack: *****
The kangaroo communique: ***
On seeing the 100% perfect girl one April morning: *****
Sleep: *****
The fall of the roman empire, the 1881 Indian Uprising, Hitler's invasion of Poland, and the realm of raging winds: **
Lederhosen: ***
Barn burning: ****
The little green monster: ****
Family affair: ***
A window: ***
TV people: *****
A slow boat to China: ****
The dancing dwarf: ****
The last lawn of the afternoon: ***
Silence: ***
To Murakami's fans, I must apologize, because although I liked this collection of stories, I didn't love it. And from what I've heard, to read Murakami is to fall in love with him. However, if his novels mirror the dazzling, freakish, and surprising plot of Sleep,or have the tension that builds when you must follow outlandish characters, like the ones in The Second Bakery Attack, I'll read a Murakami novel again and again. Yet while I do admire the fragmentary poignancy of the narratives in this ...more
Jun 12, 2007 E.H. rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: literary hipsters
What can I say about Haruki Murakami? He is famous, both in Japan and abroad, although in the States those who know him tend to be Literary Hipsters who are interested in Asia. He writes novels and short stories, although his novels tend to be a bit disjointed and episodic, hinged like a Jacob's ladder. His short stories will always employ a simile at the top of the second page which may seem at times deep and yet simple.

When I started reading The Elephant Vanishes, I wasn't really sure what I
Nov 01, 2015 Miguel rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Digo de minha justiça: o pó que se abate sobre as palavras, o bafio que assusta o nariz inquieto e curioso, o espavento das formigas que fogem do prenúncio da miséria.

Haruki Murakami acaba com o adormecimento, escancara a porta de supetão e relembra, como uma coluna de som, a música que sacode o corpo.

O leitor sai da bolsa marsupial, ensaia a florescência da primavera, que pula como uma criança, crescendo como os tales dos lírios que se roçam nos dedos dos pés que se assomam das sandálias dos in
Jun 27, 2007 Joe rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
murakami short stories rock my socks. on a purely structural level, his sentence composition is brilliant. short, descriptive, simple, and undeniably beautiful in a way that perhaps only a writer with an eastern perspective could achieve. sometimes his sentences make you feel as if you are gazing from the summit of a mountain with no one else around. besides that, his blend of the absurd with the bitterly mundane is a juxtaposition that only the most skilled writer could pull off. with bizarre t ...more
Franco  Santos
The Wind-Up Bird and Tuesday's Women: Entretenido, linda prosa. (3/5)

The Second Bakery Attack: Me gustó mucho. Atrapante desde el comienzo y con una trama divertida. (3.5/5)

The Kangaroo Communiqué: Relato ligero, sin nada de especial. (2.5/5)

On Seeing the 100% Perfect Girl One Beautiful April Morning: Hermoso cuento. Muy corto pero inolvidable. Una pequeña joya. Es el mejor del libro, sin dudas. (4.5/5)

Sleep: Buena historia. Final raro. (3/5)

The Fall of the Roman Empire, the 1881 Indian Uprising
A. Dawes
Aug 11, 2016 A. Dawes rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
Murakami here delivers a highly accessible and quirky collection of stories. Murakami's conversational narrative voice throughout provides for an intimate atmosphere with readers. As usual, I'll rate the stories individually below. Despite a couple of hiccups, I'd recommend the work.

3.5* The Wind-up Bird and Tuesday's Women. A quirky urban story.

4* The Second Bakery Attack. A couple make a second bakery attack on MacDonald's. Murakami at his offbeat best.

4* The Kangaroo Communique. An experimen
James Curcio
Aug 04, 2011 James Curcio rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Murakami manages to keep the mind riveted in ways that I don't even fully understand. If most of these stories were pitched to me as an editor, I'd think they were somewhere between banal and stupidly fanciful in the way of a story that a seven year-old might tell. But in his hands, they're transfixing. They'd be transfiguring as well, except that sometimes he leaves you with so little to hold on to at the end of a piece that you're left just with a feeling like "what just happened?"

But then yo
Noshin Syara
Jan 02, 2017 Noshin Syara rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Haruki Murakami has always his own kinda flavor !
Short stories, melancholic stories, mostly weird stories .
I feel so submerged into his characters that sometimes its hard to remember that I'm not them. I don't listen to jazz in the morning with a can of bear, waking up next my partner & feel so lifeless !
But you know, then I'm here in the reality. Which is even weirder but in a less interesting way :(
Jun 09, 2012 Salymar rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Haruki Murakami is a best-selling Japanese writer. His works include 1Q84, The Wind-up bird Chronicle, etc. which have garnered critical acclaim and numerous awards. To date, I have been eyeing to read some of his latest works including this novel, The Elephant Vanishes. And now that I've finished this, I can't totally picture how I'm feeling right now, it's like I finally found my missing Tom cat for four(4) years while leaning over the edge of a boat and look down to the bottom of the sea watc ...more
Oct 18, 2008 Amari rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've been deeply disappointed in Murakami before, and I seem to remember that they're always short stories that I have found useless. But this collection floats my boat. I agree with some reviews I've read that complain of the lack of variety in the protagonists' situations -- they're, almost to a one, loners, bored, alienated, and around 30. Most of them are experiencing some kind of freakish alteration in the world around them which, I take, we are meant to interpret as changes in themselves. ...more
Andrea Tomé
Mar 21, 2016 Andrea Tomé rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Normalmente no suelo tener muchos problemas a la hora de puntuar una colección de relatos, pero está en particular fue... Rara (y estamos hablando de Murakami, así que ya os imagináis cómo de raro).
Ha habido relatos que han sido magistrales (El primero, el tercero y el último sobre todo), otros sencillamente buenos (el penúltimo y el segundo) y otros un pelín mediocres/demasiado extraños para ser clasificados (el de los chinos no tenía demasiado propósito, y el de los hombres de la tele y
Jan 21, 2017 Meera rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I want to be able to be in two places at once.That is my one and only wish...
Apr 03, 2010 Nafiza rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Some of the stories are unsettling, some are sly, and yet others offer an intensely introspective look at the world we live in. I have been reading Murakami for a long time and I can say with what little authority I have that this may be his finest work yet. I don't know where I read this but he is on record as saying that he finds short stories more fun to write than novels. His style is meticulous with a keen eye for details which can sometimes translate as being tedious and repetitive in nove ...more
Ben Loory
Jan 14, 2016 Ben Loory rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Sleep" is one of the best stories I've ever read. I LOVE IT. I also love "Barn Burning" and "The Wind-Up Bird and Tuesday's Women" (though neither quite reach the height and final impact of "Sleep"). There are others I like a lot ("TV People" and "Last Lawn of the Afternoon" (which could be a Ron Carlson story)) and then some that I enjoyed but didn't seem to add up to a whole lot and then a very few I actively disliked ("The Dancing Dwarf" and "The Little Green Monster"-- yick). In general: so ...more
Sarah saied
Feb 09, 2017 Sarah saied rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
قصص فانتازية بعضها جيد وعادي..وبعضها رائع..
قرد شيناجوا والفيل يتبخر والقزم الراقص كانت الأكثر قربا لي..
هاروكي موراكامي بالنسبة لي هو تلك المنطقة الرمادية بين الواقع والخيال...بين الجنون والعبقرية...هو يسحرك بثقافة وذكاء بما يكتبه ...
Samuel Mustri
Feb 16, 2012 Samuel Mustri rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The stories are meant for reading aloud and flow like poetry, some of the short stories felt too short though. They tend to evaporate into insubstantiality the minute you finish reading them.
"Second Bakery Attack'" was a joy to read. Murakami is a writer that you either love or hate.
The absolute confidence with which he writes his absurd yet profoundly beautiful has caused me to truly love him.
Haruki Murakami is one of my favorite authors, others may find his work opresive.
Reading Murakami is a
Apr 20, 2013 David rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
The stories are very well written, but there is a sense of depression or resignation coursing through many of the characters. I've talked with friends who also read it, and they told me that this is because the author's writings are all meant to criticize the inflexible, suffocating nature of Japanese society in regards to its people.
It was one of the tougher reads I've had, but it was very good.
Rating it according to Goodreads' system, so two stars mean "it was okay".

I don't understand the Murakami love, two or three of the stories were good, the others I didn't care for, I always zone out whenever his characters start talking about food or popular western music, please give it a rest.
Nov 05, 2009 Candiss rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories, japan
I really enjoyed this selection by Murakami, although - as is usual for me upon reading a collection of short stories - I really feel I would need to rate each story separately to give an accurate picture of my feelings on the book. There were (from my perspective) some stellar 5s, as well as some solid 3.5s/4s...and a couple of meh 2s/3s.

Murakami is a terrifically talented writer who approaches each subject from just a few degrees off-center. Even in the most mundane circumstances, things in h
Apr 15, 2011 Louize rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Louize by: Dr. Ranee
The Elephant Vanishes is a merger between reality and the bizarre without actually defining the difference. The characters experience unnatural circumstances pushing them to bridge the gap between the norm and the supernatural, allowing for dreamlike things to cross into their slow and quiet lives. Circumstances they won’t voluntarily talk about but neither will forget.
“I often get the feeling that things around me have lost their proper balance, though it could be that my perceptions are playi
Jan 11, 2013 Michael rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I only began reading Murakami as of last year. My work mate brought into the office 'A Wild Sheep's Chase' and I was immediately intrigued by the quirky title. After being delighted by that book, I subsequently went on to buy most of Murakami's other books and each one exceeded my expectations. In The Elephant Vanishes, Murakami once again writes with such imagination and incredible prose that I was left in awe of undoubtedly one of literature's greatest writers.

I like the fact that all the emo
Feb 06, 2008 David rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2008
I wish that, just once, Murakami would write something that doesn't have a first-person narrator. Or that the narrator wouldn't be a detached hipster who spends way too much time inside his own head. For that matter, the warping of the alienated protagonist's reality (dancing dwarves, little green monsters, diminutive TV gnomes, mysterious phone callers, vanishing elephants) is not a uniformly successful device either. Sometimes it's just tedious, reinforcing the idea that Murakami is just writi ...more
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Haruki Murakami (Japanese: 村上 春樹) is a popular contemporary Japanese writer and translator. His work has been described as 'easily accessible, yet profoundly complex'. He can be located on Facebook at:

Since childhood, Murakami has been heavily influenced by Western culture, particularly Western music and literature. He grew up reading a range of works by Am
More about Haruki Murakami...

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“There are some things about myself I can’t explain to anyone. There are some things I don’t understand at all. I can’t tell what I think about things or what I’m after. I don’t know what my strengths are or what I’m supposed to do about them. But if I start thinking about these things in too much detail the whole thing gets scary. And if I get scared I can only think about myself. I become really self-centered, and without meaning to, I hurt people. So I’m not such a wonderful human being.” 177 likes
“I realize now that the reality of things is not something you convey to people but something you make.” 84 likes
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