Murakami tells the true story behind an act of terrorism that turned an average Monday morning into a national disaster.
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.
'Not just an impressive essay in witness literature, but also a unique sounding of the quotidian Japanese mind' Independent
Murakami shares with Alfred Hitchcock a fascination for ordinary people being suddenly plucked by extraordinary circumstances from their daily lives
Not just an impressive essay in witness literature, but also a unique sounding of the quotidian Japanese mind
A scrupulous and unhistrionic look into the heart of the horror
The testimonies he assembles are striking. From the very beginning Underground is impossibly moving and unexpectedly engrossing
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
Tokyo has inspired all manner of writers, from home and abroad, seeking to evoke its unique atmosphere over the years.