Underground by Haruki Murakami
The Tokyo Gas Attack and the Japanese Psyche

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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.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

About Haruki Murakami

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Haruki Murakami was born in Kyoto in 1949 and now lives near Tokyo. His work has been translated into forty-two languages. The most recent of his many honours is the Franz Kafka Prize.From the Hardcover edition.
Published August 11, 2010 by Vintage. 384 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Health, Fitness & Dieting, History, Political & Social Sciences, Religion & Spirituality, Travel, Professional & Technical, Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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An enthralling section gives Murakami a chance to dig around in why he had felt dread when confronted with Aum members before the attack, and how their members (former and current Aum members are also interviewed) might well harbor “doubts about the inhumane, utilitarian grist mill of capitalism ...

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Publishers Weekly

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As with the work of Studs Terkel, which Murakami acknowledges is a model for this present work, the author's voice, outside of a few prefatory comments, is seldom heard.

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AV Club

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Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami (The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle) reconstructs the harrowing events of the gas attack in Underground, the first of two new Murakami books being released simultaneously by separate publishers.

Apr 19 2002 | Read Full Review of Underground: The Tokyo Gas At...

London Review of Books

(Not that ‘crazy’ explains anything.) Apart from the idea of speeding up the end of the world by mass murder, Aum, with its totally charismatic leader and unhappy young people who become dedicated to the cause, does not look importantly different from cults that horrify us in other parts of the w...

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Austin Chronicle

In a compelling essay bridging parts one and two of Underground, titled "Blind Nightmare: Where Are We Japanese Going?," Murakami worries that mainstream Japanese will learn nothing by distancing themselves from Aum.

Aug 03 2001 | Read Full Review of Underground: The Tokyo Gas At...

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