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Rochelle Ratner
AudioFile, June 2007

Published in 2002 in Japan, these six stories center around the 1995 Kobe earthquake. Contrary to what listeners have come to expect from Americans writing about disasters close to home, there's little if any shock value here. Everything is extremely subtle, and almost nothing is resolved: the bored wife glued to the television and the child haunted by the Earthquake Man remain on the periphery of the stories. Rarely do tales of this literary caliber, especially from an unfamiliar culture, make such a smooth transition to audio. The three British narrators are more than competent, though the characters' names are strange to their ears as well as ours, and they tend to overemphasize the high pitch of women's voices.

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