Underground
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Underground

3.88 (10,780 ratings by Goodreads)
By (author)  , Translated by  , Translated by 

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Description

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.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 320 pages
  • 128 x 194 x 24mm | 222.26g
  • Vintage Publishing
  • VINTAGE
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0099461099
  • 9780099461098
  • 55,182

Back cover copy

It was a clear spring day, Monday, March 20, 1995, when five members of the religious cult Aum Shinrikyo conducted chemical warfare on the Tokyo subway system using sarin, a poison gas twenty-six times as deadly as cyanide. The unthinkable had happened, a major urban transit system had become the target of a terrorist attack.In an attempt to discover why, Haruki Murakami, internationally acclaimed author of The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle and arguably Japan's most important contemporary novelist, talked to the people who lived through the catastrophe -- from a Subway Authority employee with survivor guilt, to a fashion salesman with more venom for the media than for the perpetrators, to a young cult member who vehemently condemns the attack though he has not quit Aum. Through these and many other voices, Murakami exposes intriguing aspects of the Japanese psyche. And as he discerns the fundamental issues leading to the attack, we achieve a clear vision of an event that could occur anytime, anywhere. Hauntingly compelling and inescapably important, Underground is a powerful work of journalistic literature from one of the world's most perceptive writers.show more

Flap copy

From Haruki Murakami, internationally acclaimed author of The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle" and Norwegian Wood, a work of literary journalism that is as fascinating as it is necessary, as provocative as it is profound. In March of 1995, agents of a Japanese religious cult attacked the Tokyo subway system with sarin, a gas twenty-six times as deadly as cyanide. Attempting to discover why, Murakami conducted hundreds of interviews with the people involved, from the survivors to the perpetrators to the relatives of those who died, and Underground is their story in their own voices. Concerned with the fundamental issues that led to the attack as well as these personal accounts, Underground is a document of what happened in Tokyo as well as a warning of what could happen anywhere. This is an enthralling and unique work of nonfiction that is timely and vital and as wonderfully executed as Murakami's brilliant novels.show more

Review quote

"Murakami shares with Alfred Hitchcock a fascination for ordinary people being suddenly plucked by extraordinary circumstances from their daily lives" * Sunday Telegraph * "Not just an impressive essay in witness literature, but also a unique sounding of the quotidian Japanese mind" * Independent * "A scrupulous and unhistrionic look into the heart of the horror" * Scotsman * "The testimonies he assembles are striking. From the very beginning Underground is impossibly moving and unexpectedly engrossing" * Time Out * "There is no artifice or pretension in Underground. There is no need for cleverness. What Murakami describes happens to ordinary people in a frighteningly ordinary way. And it is all the more bizarre for that" * Observer *show more

About Haruki Murakami

Haruki Murakami is the author of many novels as well as short stories and non-fiction. His books include Norwegian Wood, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, Kafka on the Shore, 1Q84, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage, The Strange Library and Wind/Pinball. His work has been translated into more than fifty languages, and the most recent of his many international honours are the Jerusalem Prize and Hans Christian Andersen Literature Award.show more

Review Text

"There is no artifice or pretension in Underground. There is no need for cleverness. What Murakami describes happens to ordinary people in a frighteningly ordinary way. And it is all the more bizarre for that"show more

Rating details

10,780 ratings
3.88 out of 5 stars
5 27% (2,878)
4 42% (4,497)
3 26% (2,801)
2 5% (527)
1 1% (77)
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