When ZYZZYVA published a Haruki Murakami story in its Spring issue of 1988, it was notable for a couple of reasons. It marked the first publication in English of a story from the soon-to-be award-winning and internationally known author. And his by-line read “Murakami Haruki.” J. Philip Gabriel, who would go on to translate Murakami’s other works, including the novel “Kafka on the Shore,” for which he won a PEN prize for translation, was a graduate student at Cornell then. He now teaches at the University of Arizona.
‘The Kangaroo Communique’ is suffused with a tristesse found in much of Murakami’s fiction, particularly his novel “Norwegian Wood.” It’s also slightly sinister and otherworldly, another characteristic of Murakami’s work. This story originally appeared in his first story collection, Slow Boat to China (1983), which along with a couple of novels, had yet to be translated into English in 1988.