The Elephant vanishes

Acclaim for HARUKI MURAKAMI’S

THE ELEPHANT VANISHES

“Charming, humorous and frequently puzzling … The Elephant Vanishes [is] fun to read. “

— The New York Times

“These stories show us Japan as it’s experienced from the inside…. [They] take place in parallel worlds not so much remote from ordinary life as hidden within its surfaces…. Even in the slipperiest of Mr. Murakami’s stories, pinpoints of detail flash out … warm with life, hopelessly — and wonderfully — unstable.”

— The New York Times Book Review

“A stunning writer at work in an era of international literature.”

— Newsday

“Murakami is one of the great Japanese masters, and his style is sexy, funny, mysterious, and always coolly deadpan.”

— Details

“Enchanting … intriguing … all of these tales have a wonderfully surreal quality and a hip, witty tone. Mr. Murakami has pulled off a tricky feat, writing stories about people who are bored but never boring. He left me lying awake at night, hungry for more.”

— Wall Street Journal

“What’s unique to Murakami’s stories is that they manage to kindle up all sorts of feelings at once…. Reading The Elephant Vanishes leaves you wanting more.”

— Philadelphia Inquirer

“The Elephant Vanishes, through [its] bold originality and charming surrealism, should win the author new readers in this country.”

— Detroit Free Press

CONTENTS

THE WIND-UP BIRD AND TUESDAY’S WOMEN

THE SECOND BAKERY ATTACK

THE KANGAROO COMMUNIQUÉ

ON SEEING THE 100% PERFECT GIRL ONE BEAUTIFUL 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

THE SILENCE

THE ELEPHANT VANISHES

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

OTHER BOOKS BY THIS AUTHOR

ALSO BY HARUKI MURAKAMI

I’M IN THE KITCHEN cooking spaghetti when the woman calls. Another moment until the spaghetti is done; there I am, whistling the prelude to Rossini’s La Gazza Ladra along with the FM radio. Perfect spaghetti-cooking music.

I hear the telephone ring but tell myself, Ignore it. Let the spaghetti finish cooking. It’s almost done, and besides, Claudio Abbado and the London Symphony Orchestra are coming to a crescendo. Still, on second thought, I figure I might as well turn down the flame and head into the living room, cooking chopsticks in hand, to pick up the receiver. It might be a friend, it occurs to me, possibly with word of a new job.

“I want ten minutes of your time,” comes a woman’s voice out of the blue.

“Excuse me?” I blurt back in surprise. “How’s that again?”

“I said, just ten minutes of your time, that’s all I want,” the woman repeats.

I have absolutely no recollection of ever hearing this woman’s voice before. And I pride myself on a near-perfect ear for voices, so I’m sure there’s no mistake. This is the voice of a woman I don’t know. A soft, low, nondescript voice.

“Pardon me, but what number might you have been calling?” I put on my most polite language.

“What difference does that make? All I want is ten minutes of your time. Ten minutes to come to an understanding.” She cinches the matter quick and neat.

“Come to an understanding?”

“Of our feelings,” says the woman succinctly.

I crane my neck back through the door I’ve left open to peer into the kitchen. A plume of white steam rising cheerfully from the spaghetti pot, and Abbado is still conducting his Gazza.

“If you don’t mind, I’ve got spaghetti on right now. It’s almost done, and it’ll be ruined if I talk with you for ten minutes. So I’m going to hang up, all right?”

“Spaghetti?” the woman sputters in disbelief. “It’s only ten-thirty in the morning. What are you doing cooking spaghetti at ten-thirty in