Haruki Murakami’s fiction is filled with dark sewers and tunnels, revelations and horrors. His nonfiction text, Underground: The Tokyo Gas Attack and the Japanese Psyche, is an amazing mosaic of urban life under strain. The sarin gas attack, in a fashion, is what Hitchcock called a ‘MacGuffin‘ (hat tip to Rich Lloyd on using Hitch as an explanitory device in his ethnographic work). The attack is the plot device through which the stories of urbanites lives collide. Which reminds me, I’ve been mesmerized by The Works, which offers up lush visual representations of data. Only some of it has been directly applicable to our urban sociology course in the fashion that Underground has.

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