Welcome to the LitCharts study guide on Haruki Murakami's The Elephant Vanishes. Created by the original team behind SparkNotes, LitCharts are the world's best literature guides.
The Elephant Vanishes: Introduction
The Elephant Vanishes: Plot Summary
The Elephant Vanishes: Detailed Summary & Analysis
The Elephant Vanishes: Themes
The Elephant Vanishes: Quotes
The Elephant Vanishes: Characters
The Elephant Vanishes: Symbols
The Elephant Vanishes: Theme Wheel
Brief Biography of Haruki Murakami
Historical Context of The Elephant Vanishes
Other Books Related to The Elephant Vanishes
- Full Title: The Elephant Vanishes
- Where Written: Japan
- When Published: 1991 in The New Yorker and 1993 in its eponymous short story collection
- Literary Period: Contemporary, postmodernism
- Genre: Short story, magical realism
- Setting: 1980s suburban Tokyo
- Climax: The narrator reveals to the woman at the business party that he was the last person to see the elephant and its keeper on the night before the two vanished.
- Point of View: First person singular
Extra Credit for The Elephant Vanishes
Peter Cat. Shortly after graduating Waseda University in 1973, Murakami opened a coffeehouse and jazz bar in Tokyo that he ran with his wife Yoko from 1974-1981. He named the bar Peter Cat after his childhood pet.
Ordinary Person. Though Murakami was a lifelong fan of music, art, and literature, he did not begin writing fiction until he was 29 years old. He describes himself as “one of those ordinary people” who was not creative before he started writing.