The Elephant Vanishes

The Elephant Vanishes

infobox Book |
name = The Elephant Vanishes
title_orig =
translator = Alfred Birnbaum, Jay Rubin

author = Haruki Murakami
cover_artist =
country = Japan
language = Japanese
series =
genre = Short story collection
publisher = Knopf
pub_date =
english_pub_date = March 31, 1993
media_type = Print (Hardcover and Paperback)
pages = 327 pp
isbn = ISBN 0-679-42057-6 (1st edition)
preceded_by =
followed_by =

"The Elephant Vanishes" is a collection of short stories by Japanese author Haruki Murakami. The stories were written between 1983 and 1990, and the collection's first English publication was in 1993. Several of the stories originally appeared (often with alternate translations) in the magazines "The New Yorker", "Playboy", and "The Magazine (Mobil Corp.)" before this compilation was published.

Stylistically and thematically, the collection aligns with Murakami's previous work. The stories mesh normality with surrealism, and focus on painful issues involving loss, destruction, confusion and loneliness. The title for the book is derived from the final story in the collection.


Additional publication

While the list above details which stories appeared before the publication of "The Elephant Vanishes", many of the stories have also appeared elsewhere more recently:
*"On Seeing the 100% Perfect Girl One Beautiful April Morning" was read on the National Public Radio show "This American Life"

Theatrical Adaptation

The British theatre company Complicite collaborated with Japan's Setagaya Public Theatre to produce a stage adaptation also entitled "The Elephant Vanishes." [] The production featured three of the stories in Murakami's collection ("Sleep," "The Second Bakery Attack," and the title story). Directed by Simon McBurney and starring a Japanese cast, the play opened in May, 2003, in Tokyo before touring internationally in limited festival runs. The performance was in Japanese with English supertitles.

The show incorporated a great deal of multimedia, which Complicite had traditionally eschewed, but married it with the company's trademark communal storytelling and demanding physical performance style. The eponymous elephant, for example, was represented at one time by a magnified eye on a video screen, and at another time by four live actors bent over office chairs. This combination of technical wizardry and compelling human narrative received high praise from critics, who also cited the play's humor, realism, and dreamlike motion as a fitting tribute to Murakami's prose. [,11712,987804,00.html] [] []


*The Second Bakery Attack was used as a scene in [ Der Eisbär] , a German movie staring Til Schweiger.

Book information

"The Elephant Vanishes" (English edition) by Haruki Murakami; translation by Alfred Birnbaum and Jay Rubin
* Paperback ISBN 0-679-75053-3, published by Vintage Press

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