The Pequod Review:
Haruki Murakami regularly takes his fictional characters to underground locations (wells, secret tunnels, etc.) so it is fitting that his first work of non-fiction would explore the 1995 Tokyo subway attacks by members of the Aum Shinrikyo religious cult. In the book, Murakami draws largely on transcripts of his own interviews with surviving victims and members of the Aum Shinrikyo cult to create a well-researched account of how the attack transpired and the effect it had on the survivors. The interviews are a bit repetitive and the overall book is less enlightening than one would have hoped, but Murakami’s introductions to each interviewee allow us to appreciate the humanity of each individual. And his inclusion of interviews with Aum Shinrikyo members makes for a jarring read, as their commonplace personal histories contrast with bizarre political and social beliefs.