Underground
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Underground : The Tokyo Gas Attack and the Japanese Psyche

3.89 (11,030 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.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 320 pages
  • 128 x 194 x 24mm | 222.26g
  • VINTAGE
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0
  • 0099461099
  • 9780099461098
  • 8,029

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.
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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.
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Review Text

"The testimonies he assembles are striking. From the very beginning Underground is impossibly moving and unexpectedly engrossing"
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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 *
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About Haruki Murakami

In 1978, Haruki Murakami was 29 and running a jazz bar in downtown Tokyo. One April day, the impulse to write a novel came to him suddenly while watching a baseball game. That first novel, Hear the Wind Sing, won a new writers' award and was published the following year. More followed, including A Wild Sheep Chase and Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World, but it was Norwegian Wood, published in 1987, which turned Murakami from a writer into a phenomenon. His books became bestsellers, were translated into many languages, including English, and the door was thrown wide open to Murakami's unique and addictive fictional universe.

Murakami writes with admirable discipline, producing ten pages a day, after which he runs ten kilometres (he began long-distance running in 1982 and has participated in numerous marathons and races), works on translations, and then reads, listens to records and cooks. His passions colour his non-fiction output, from What I Talk About When I Talk About Running to Absolutely On Music, and they also seep into his novels and short stories, providing quotidian moments in his otherwise freewheeling flights of imaginative inquiry. In works such as The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, 1Q84 and Men Without Women, his distinctive blend of the mysterious and the everyday, of melancholy and humour, continues to enchant readers, ensuring Murakami's place as one of the world's most acclaimed and well-loved writers.
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Rating details

11,030 ratings
3.89 out of 5 stars
5 27% (2,952)
4 42% (4,610)
3 26% (2,854)
2 5% (535)
1 1% (79)
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