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After Dark PDF, ePub eBook

4.6 out of 5
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After Dark

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After Dark PDF, ePub eBook A short, sleek novel of encounters set in Tokyo during the witching hours between midnight and dawn, and every bit as gripping as Haruki Murakami’s masterworks The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle and Kafka on the Shore. At its center are two sisters—Eri, a fashion model slumbering her way into oblivion, and Mari, a young student soon led from solitary reading at an anonymous Denny’s A short, sleek novel of encounters set in Tokyo during the witching hours between midnight and dawn, and every bit as gripping as Haruki Murakami’s masterworks The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle and Kafka on the Shore. At its center are two sisters—Eri, a fashion model slumbering her way into oblivion, and Mari, a young student soon led from solitary reading at an anonymous Denny’s toward people whose lives are radically alien to her own: a jazz trombonist who claims they’ve met before, a burly female “love hotel” manager and her maid staff, and a Chinese prostitute savagely brutalized by a businessman. These “night people” are haunted by secrets and needs that draw them together more powerfully than the differing circumstances that might keep them apart, and it soon becomes clear that Eri’s slumber—mysteriously tied to the businessman plagued by the mark of his crime—will either restore or annihilate her. After Dark moves from mesmerizing drama to metaphysical speculation, interweaving time and space as well as memory and perspective into a seamless exploration of human agency—the interplay between self-expression and empathy, between the power of observation and the scope of compassion and love. Murakami’s trademark humor, psychological insight, and grasp of spirit and morality are here distilled with an extraordinary, harmonious mastery.

30 review for After Dark

  1. 5 out of 5

    Daniel

    Murakami is not a great author for passive readers. If your main interest in fiction is plot and story, and especially if you tend to be the sort of reader who plows straight through a book and then thinks about it only after you're done, "After Dark" is going to be unsatisfying. To me, Murakami is a great author for teaching you how to read (forgive me) proactively. He works a lot with impressions and mood, so that it's most rewarding when the reader stops after every few sentences and chews on Murakami is not a great author for passive readers. If your main interest in fiction is plot and story, and especially if you tend to be the sort of reader who plows straight through a book and then thinks about it only after you're done, "After Dark" is going to be unsatisfying. To me, Murakami is a great author for teaching you how to read (forgive me) proactively. He works a lot with impressions and mood, so that it's most rewarding when the reader stops after every few sentences and chews on what's happening. On the surface, not a lot happens in "After Dark". There's a girl, Mari, who's staying up all night in a Denny's in an unnamed city, just trying to be by herself and not trying to accomplish much else. Her sister Eri is what I'd call dramatically asleep - unconscious for an indeterminate amount of time, but not comatose or otherwise unhealthy. So right away, this is not the basis for a summer blockbuster film. There are other characters and interesting Things that Happen, of course, it's just a slow start to a leisurely sort of book. Overall, I'd say this book is about how large groups of people are an organism in and of themselves, and about how that faceless, inexorable organism can possibly be built out of gangsters and also of people who like to sit in a Denny's and read books. If impressionistic novels are your cup of tea, then you'll enjoy this book and you'll loooooooooooooooooove some of his longer stuff, like "The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle" or "Wild Sheep Chase". The first time I read a Murakami novel I ended with the impression that I missed something important, and I only started to "get" his work after I stopped to smell the creeping dread. This book is a good Murakami litmus test - don't bother with his longer work if you don't like it. I liked it.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Samadrita

    Good ol' Murakami. Every time I read him, I feel my reasons for choosing a book as company over a real person, legitimized again. What is reading, but, a singular form of one-sided communication? An author sends us an encoded message, crafted with precision and a deep empathy arising out of their understanding of the world and humanity at large. And we, in turn, decode it and instantly feel a pull on the invisible umbilical cord linking us to this person we have never met and, possibly, will nev Good ol' Murakami. Every time I read him, I feel my reasons for choosing a book as company over a real person, legitimized again. What is reading, but, a singular form of one-sided communication? An author sends us an encoded message, crafted with precision and a deep empathy arising out of their understanding of the world and humanity at large. And we, in turn, decode it and instantly feel a pull on the invisible umbilical cord linking us to this person we have never met and, possibly, will never meet. Murakami makes me feel exactly this way. I will never meet him or get to make his acquaintance. But then, don't I know him already? Few other writers speak to me the way he does. Every time I open a book by him, I feel at home. I let the surrealistic worlds of his creation engulf me in a warm embrace and sweep me away into an unknown abyss of turbulent feelings, darkness and melancholia. I know I can latch onto his hand and take a walk inside the darkest recesses of my own mind, that I wasn't even aware existed. I know I can let him become my guide, my own personal magician with a wide range of tricks up his sleeve. I know I can nurture an unshakeable faith in the illusions he begets. Because as always, he will unveil the grand truth of the matter in the end and offer enlightenment of a unique kind. After Dark reinforces this unadulterated, pristine devotion that I feel for this man. Through the bizarre events that a set of individuals go through all in one night, Murakami explores the seedy underbelly of a city and, perhaps, our existence. Love hotel managers, Chinese prostitutes and gangsters, a young college going girl struggling with a vague identity crisis, her beautiful, older sister who lies in a state of perpetual somnolence but doesn't die, an optimistic, young man who plays the trombone in a band, an ordinary office worker who turns violent under the helpful cover of the night - these are the wonderfully strange people he designates as our guides to his kaleidoscopic landscapes. Like the master of imagery that he is, he creates one seductively beautiful vignette after another and pastes them together into a mesmerizing collage of the collective human consciousness. He fishes out the soul of a city so bereft of life and substantial movement after the sun has set. He unleashes all the inglorious impulses and unholy emotions that bob up to the surface of our consciousness when the dazzling light of the day is no longer there to help keep them in check and lets us witness how his characters grapple with them. He analyzes and dissects our darkest nocturnal human tendencies with astounding sensitivity. He goes deeper yet and tries to reveal the paradox of dualism in any individual - the stark differences between our daytime selves and darker, nighttime selves and how effortlessly both can co-exist in harmony but are separated by an unbridgeable rift. I am very much tempted to give this 5 stars but I have seen Murakami deal with more complex themes and create even more staggeringly raw and visceral images with the aid of his powerful writing. Hence 4 stars it is for now.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Sean Barrs the Bookdragon

    This really isn’t a novel to be rushed. This is a novel to be savoured and appreciated, and I think this quote here captures a large part of the book: "She reads with great concentration. Her eyes rarely move from the pages of the book- a thick hardback. A bookstore wrapper hides the title from us. Judging from her intent expression, the book might contain challenging subject matter. Far from skimming, she seems to be biting off and chewing it one line at a time.” The words and the language see This really isn’t a novel to be rushed. This is a novel to be savoured and appreciated, and I think this quote here captures a large part of the book: "She reads with great concentration. Her eyes rarely move from the pages of the book- a thick hardback. A bookstore wrapper hides the title from us. Judging from her intent expression, the book might contain challenging subject matter. Far from skimming, she seems to be biting off and chewing it one line at a time.” The words and the language seem very simple, but there’s much meaning here. This girl is more interested in this book than her surroundings; it is more stimulating that the people around her. The title remains hidden; it’s a suggestion that just because we can see the outside it doesn’t necessarily mean we know what is on the inside. We can observe, and we can see, but we can never truly perceive something in its exact form. This a theme Murakami carries throughout the book. For example, take the man who abuses the prostitute in the love hotel. He seems like an ordinary man, functional, capable of going to work and able to maintain a relationship. But hidden in the depths of his ordinariness is a secret darkness, a need to hurt people. But what is the need? We never truly know. Surveillance can only tell so much. We know he speaks of a need, but whether or not that is some malevolent desire or a choice he has to make because someone has some leverage over him, we will, again, never actually know. Night-time Tokyo is captured through a camera lens; it’s forever gazing on the symbolic surface level of the character’s existences, through which Murakami slowly begins to reveal their inner workings. But he never comes to any conclusions. We can only glimpse and peer in. As the hours approach ever closer to dawn, we see a little bit more. "Between the time the last train leaves and the first train arrives, the place changes: it's not the same as in daytime.” “Time moves in it special way in the middle of the night.” We can look at a city at night, and we can see the intertwining threads of existence, but we will never see existence in its full form. So the book takes on an almost movie like feel, akin to something by Quentin Tarantino. Sure, we don’t have the dramatic bursts of action and the spraying blood, but what we do have is conversation. Long drawn out dialogue that reveals much about the characters and how they perceive the world and each other. And it’s intense at times, and it really pulls you into to the story. The exchanges are well written and almost natural in nature. They’ve not been forced on the page. I did really enjoy this book, but somehow I feel that Murakami can do better. For all the interesting elements here, I know he was purposely holding back for effect. I really do need to read some more of his books, perhaps next time one that has a little more plot.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Ian "Marvin" Graye

    Original Review: March 8, 2011 A Midwinter Night's Tale "After Dark" is probably the easiest Murakami novel to read. At 201 pages, it's not difficult to finish in one session. It's also close to what you would call "high concept" in the film industry. Its execution is not much more than its conception. All of the action takes place from 11:56pm to 6:52am on a midwinter night, more or less "after dark" when the days are shortest and the nights are longest. Hidden Meaning Murakami's writing is stripped Original Review: March 8, 2011 A Midwinter Night's Tale "After Dark" is probably the easiest Murakami novel to read. At 201 pages, it's not difficult to finish in one session. It's also close to what you would call "high concept" in the film industry. Its execution is not much more than its conception. All of the action takes place from 11:56pm to 6:52am on a midwinter night, more or less "after dark" when the days are shortest and the nights are longest. Hidden Meaning Murakami's writing is stripped back, simple, present tense, in the style of detective fiction, yet there is always a sense of deeper meaning, even if it is or remains hidden. We see the surface, almost like a camera, but we know there is something behind it, even if he doesn't choose or have to describe it. Beware of Darkness "Darkness" is an extended metaphor throughout the entire novel. At the most superficial level, it describes the night. However, it also represents the darkness of the human soul. This level of meaning is most likely to resonate with its likely audience – youth in their teens or early twenties who are still trying to piece together some sense of the meaning of life and how they fit into it. The Same People, Just a Different Cave Before people developed the technology to build houses, they huddled together in caves at night, primarily to escape their predators, but also to share their collective warmth. Darkness then created a sense of family, if not society as well. Language as a form of communication probably developed during these hours of darkness, when there was little else to do. Now that we can build accommodation, we create smaller scale, more individualised caves where we can live alone and lonely. What was once a source of comfort has become a source of alienation. The Life of Buildings This spiritual or anti-spiritual life of buildings in Murakami's fiction has been coming for some time. The homes, office blocks, cafes, bars and hotels in his novels take on a life of their own. They are characters with their own mysteries that embrace and surround the human characters. They're almost microcosms with their own cosmic significance. Inside these buildings, we can be easily lured away from interaction with other humans, even the members of our own family. Sister Feelings Call Again Mari and her beautiful sister, Eri, are two sides of the one coin (their names are only one syllable apart) that have lost touch with each other. Eri is at home sleeping a deep sleep that is "too perfect, too pure" and has lasted for two months. Late in the book, we learn that they once embraced each other for protection in a lift while it remained trapped in darkness in a blackout. Spiritually, it was the closest they ever came to each other, a return to the comfort of the cave. Since then, they have drifted apart for no discernible reason. Metaphorically, they have lost touch, but it's almost as if it is important that they have literally lost "touch" as well. Close to You Although Eri never fully regains consciousness during the span of the novel, their reconciliation and sense of wholeness begin when Mari learns to open up personally over the course of meetings with strangers during the night and decides to sleep in Eri's bed, holding her close under the sheets, just as the sun starts to rise and the darkness starts to dissipate. Open Up and Let Me In In Murakami's concluding words, "this hint of things to come takes time to expand in the new morning light, and we attempt to watch it unobtrusively, with deep concentration. The night has begun to open up at last." Throughout the night, we have watched two flowers start to blossom...or, more likely, two shrubs about to re-blossom. In a sense, they have emerged from the dark and into the light. They are literally "after dark" or post-darkness. There is a suggestion of a recurring cycle at work here too. Just as day follows night, night follows day. Darkness Becomes Light, and Light Becomes Darkness Murakami's very last words are that the hint of things to come will continue to expand in the light, at least "until the next darkness arrives". This might just mean that we will retreat to our caves at night, pending a new sunrise. But it could also mean that, all through our lives, we have to deal with darkness and depression, but we have to remember that there will be a new sunrise, especially if we make it happen ourselves. Is Once a Night Enough? Someone has suggested that this novel could be the first in a trilogy based around these characters. There are a myriad of questions that the detective in the reader wants to find answers for. On the other hand, the metaphorical significance of the novel and its title is complete in one volume.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Stephen M

    "Eye's mark the shape of the city" There is something about Murakami that ignites connections in my brain that I don't know what to do with. Such as the scene with the man on a television screen staring into a real room with a girl lying on the bed. He is said to be looking in from the "other side". Murakami uses this same phrase when a main character is looking into a mirror. When she gazes at herself in the mirror she is said to be looking in from the "other side". There are several scenes whic "Eye's mark the shape of the city" There is something about Murakami that ignites connections in my brain that I don't know what to do with. Such as the scene with the man on a television screen staring into a real room with a girl lying on the bed. He is said to be looking in from the "other side". Murakami uses this same phrase when a main character is looking into a mirror. When she gazes at herself in the mirror she is said to be looking in from the "other side". There are several scenes which beg for some kind of interpretation because they connect in some kind of way. So I tried my best to link two major ideas that struck me at first. This book seemed to me to occupy itself with the phenomena of observance. His comparisons of the narrative lens to an actual camera lens is obvious. His prose even reflects that of a screenplay. Most chapters start with a sentence fragment of the location (like a screenplay Int. Denny's or what have you). The book is heavy on the dialogue and it's in the present tense. Obviously the idea of a screenplay informing the way we see a movie is being drawn into this story. Another major idea stemmed from an argument of the effects of such observance upon the subject being observed, "eye's mark the shape of the city". I felt the usage of the first-person plural, (i.e. "we see this... now we move into this place") was an argument for how the book itself smashes a world into a single view. As if there are these multiple people trying to look into this world, but we are restricted to the author's single view of the world. So he uses we to refer to our collected view into this world. As you can see, these were all very abstract and loose interpretations. I tried my best to develop it. I went to town on the first 50 pages with a pen, but slowly the book slipped away from the analytical side of my brain. I somewhat accepted that I wasn't going to understand every last supernatural detail or musing in this book. Instead, I let the mood and feelings evoked within guide me through it. In interviews, Murakami often discusses his writing style. He calls it "dreaming". He will wake up at early hours of the morning to "dream" into the page, then he goes to a strictly regimented routine of running and other daily chores. He sees this repetition and "dreaming" as a way to mine into the inner recesses of the subconscious. There is something beautiful about this in my opinion. This way in which Murakami delves into this type of writing always stimulates emotion from within me. It is like a dream where you wake up and can't really describe anything that has happened to yourself, yet you are undeniably left with a deep, pensive attitude superseding all of the quotidian aspects of the morning. I like that Murakami does that to me. I like that he connects two completely unrelated things that I can never make much sense out of. I most certainly recommend this book. The only thing keeping me from five stars is the fact that it feels incomplete in its shortness. And not enough of it comes together in a similar fashion as The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle. Nonetheless, it is powerful stuff. I'm a fan. Prose style: 4 Plot: 3 Depth of characters: 4 Overall sense of aesthetic: 5 Originality: 5 Entertaining: 3 Emotional Reaction: 5 Intellectual Stimulation: 5 Social Relevance: 3 Writerly Inspiration: 4 Average = 4.1 Click here

  6. 5 out of 5

    Matthias

    I wake up. My room bathes in the light of the streetlamp. I’m too tired to look around. I close my eyes again but soon feel in my heart that the darkness I so desire has fled. It hides under my bed, in the corners of the city and of my mind. It refuses to manifest itself in its most majestic and generous form, that of the great blanket that covers the waking world, that of the wide gate that allows passage to the land of dreams. The splashes of darkness only serve to irritate me in their small p I wake up. My room bathes in the light of the streetlamp. I’m too tired to look around. I close my eyes again but soon feel in my heart that the darkness I so desire has fled. It hides under my bed, in the corners of the city and of my mind. It refuses to manifest itself in its most majestic and generous form, that of the great blanket that covers the waking world, that of the wide gate that allows passage to the land of dreams. The splashes of darkness only serve to irritate me in their small portions. I open my eyes, flip the switch and welcome the light in its hostile splendour. I’m not thirsty. I’m not hungry. I’m tired but unwilling to try to sleep, unwilling to fight a battle that I’ve already lost. Milk. Milk never quenches my thirst, it never stills my hunger, but I always have some in my fridge. It soothes me on a level that is neither nutritional or hydrating. Milk is said to strengthen the bones, but I sense that it softens me. Milk will manage to soften the hard edges of this sleepless night. My feet are cold as I make my way to the fridge. The floor hasn’t been cleaned in a little while and I feel small grains of cluttered dust, sand and crumbles cling to the soles of my feet. I rub them off and feel a slight disgust with both myself and the floor. I tip-toe the rest of the way and I feel better. The fridge is empty. No milk. No water. No produce. The light, my nemesis of the night, luxuriates in this deserted white scenery as a victorious conqueror. I close the door in displeasure but in the speed of the movement I see a flash of darkness. I open the door again and notice a black book sitting on the middle shelf. Wondering how it got there and how I missed it before, I pick it up. "After Dark", by Haruki Murakami. Even though my feet still feel dirty, I slip back into bed and start reading. The mood is palpable from the first sentence onwards and I’m taken away into a scenery where sympathetic darkness prevails, allowing glimpses into its secrets. Mirrors, shadows, cats and dead television sets become gateways to another world. It’s a world of mysterious questions to which tuna sandwiches, a set of sharpened pencils, a trombone and a baseball cap are its incomprehensible but valid answers. Conversations glean additional significance from the darkness that surrounds them. Everyday objects become laden with meaning. I am close to understanding the night, as I feel it both within the pages and within me. I wake up.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Ahmad Sharabiani

    (アフターダーク = Afutā Dāku = After Dark, Haruki Murakami After Dark is a 2004 novel by Japanese author Haruki Murakami. Set in metropolitan Tokyo over the course of one night, characters include Mari Asai, a 19-year-old student, who is spending the night reading in a Denny's. There she meets Takahashi Tetsuya, a trombone-playing student who loves Curtis Fuller's "Five Spot After Dark" song on Blues-ette; Takahashi knows Mari's sister Eri, who he was once interested in, and insists that the group of th (アフターダーク = Afutā Dāku = After Dark, Haruki Murakami After Dark is a 2004 novel by Japanese author Haruki Murakami. Set in metropolitan Tokyo over the course of one night, characters include Mari Asai, a 19-year-old student, who is spending the night reading in a Denny's. There she meets Takahashi Tetsuya, a trombone-playing student who loves Curtis Fuller's "Five Spot After Dark" song on Blues-ette; Takahashi knows Mari's sister Eri, who he was once interested in, and insists that the group of them have hung out before. Meanwhile, Eri is in a deep sleep next to a television and seems to be haunted by a menacing figure. ... عنوانها: پس از تاریکی؛ بعد از تاریکی؛ تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز هشتم ماه آوریل سال 2005 میلادی عنوان: پس از تاریکی - ترجمه از متن انگلیسی، نویسنده: هاروکی موراکامی، مترجم: مهدی غبرائی؛ تهران، کتابسرای نیک؛ 1387، در 191 ص؛ چاپ سوم 1388؛ در 191 ص؛ شابک: 9789642953219؛ چاپ هفتم: مشهد، نیکوفر، 1393؛ در 190 ص؛ شابک:9789647253017؛ موضوع: داستانهای کوتاه ژاپنی - سده 21 م عنوان: بعد از تاریکی، نویسنده: هاروکی موراکامی، مترجم: علی حاجی قاسم؛ تهران، نگاه، 1387، چاپ بعدی 1391؛ در 198 ص؛ شابک: 9789643517045؛ قسمت هایی از کتاب وقتی یه بار یتیم شدی، تا وقتی بمیری یتیمی شاید آدم باید واقعا بمیره تا بفهمه چطوریه خاطرات مردم، شاید مثل مواد سوختی باشه، که میسوزونن تا زنده باشن یک روزی آدم دلخواهت را پیدا میکنی ماری، و یاد میگیری که باید اعتماد به نفس بیشتری داشته باشی. من این طور فکر میکنم. پس کمتر از اینو قبول نکن ... ماری: ولی چرا باید به من علاقه داشته باشی؟ تاکاهاشی: سوال خوبی هست در حال حاضر خودم هم جوابش رو نمیدونم. اما شاید-فقط شاید-اگه باهم باشیم حرف بزنیم، پس از مدتی یه چیز مثل موسیقی متن فرانسیس لای در پس زمینه پخش میشود؛ و از جایی نامعلوم یک خروار دلیل مشخص روی سرمان میریزد؛ که چرا به تو علاقه دارم اگر بخت به ما رو کند، شاید برف هم برایمان ببارد ... ماجرای یک دختر 18- 19 ساله است به نام «ماری»،‏ که خواهری بزرگتر از خود دارد. دو خواهر تفاوتهایی باهم دارند. مثلا این که خواهر بزرگتر که نامش «اِری»ست، خیلی دختر خوشگلی ست. برای مجله‏ های مُد کار می‏کند، اما خواهر کوچکتر معمولی ست. دو ماه پیشتر، یک روز «اِری» به خانواده ‏اش می‏گوید که من خیلی خسته ام، و می‏خواهم بخوابم. و پس از گذشت دو ماه، او هنوز از خواب بیدار نشده. ماجرا از ساعت 11:56 امشب شروع می‏شود، که «ماری» خسته و کلافه از خواب طولانی خواهر، تا صبح در خیابان‏های «توکیو» پرسه می‏زند. اسم هر فصل یک زمان است. فصل نخست: 11:56 قبل از نیمه شب، و تا فصل پایان که 6:52 پس از نیمه شب، که «ماری» به خانه برمی‏گردد. نقل از کتاب: - به فکر نیافتادید برای آزمایش ببریدش به یک بیمارستان؟ «پدر و مادرم سعی می‏کنند خوشبینانه ترین نظرگاه را داشته باشند. عقیده دارند خواهرم هرچه بخواهد می‏خوابد و یک روز انگار نه انگار چیزی شده بیدار می‏شود، و همه چیز به حالت عادی برمی‏گردد. آنها به این امکان چسبیده ‏اند. اما من طاقت ندارم. یا بهتر بگویم، گهگاه طاقتم طاق می‏شود از اینکه زیر یک سقف با خواهرم به سر برم و سر درنیاورم که چرا دو ماه، نیمه جان است.» - پس از خانه درمی‏آیی و شب‏ها خیابان گز می‏کنی؟ ماری می‏گوید: «فقط خوابم نمی‏برد. وقتی زور می‏زنم، تنها فکر و خیالم این است که خواهرم تو اتاق بغلی آن جور خوابیده. حالم که بد می‏شود، دیگر نمی‏توانم چاردیواری خانه را تحمل کنم.» - دو ماه، هان؟ مدت زیادی است. ماری سری به تایید می‏جنباند. کوروگی می‏گوید: «البته من که از موضوع سر درنمیآورم، اما به نظرم می‏رسد خواهرت لابد مشکل بزرگی دارد که نمی‏تواند از پسش برآید، چیزی که نمی‏تواند دست تنها حلش کند. بنابراین فقط دلش می‏خواهد برود تو رختخواب و بخوابد، تا از دنیای مادی دور باشد. به نظرم از احساسش سر درمی‏آورم یا بهتر است بگویم دقیقا می‏دانم احساسش چی است.» پایان نقل کتاب یک داستان بلند است. داستان از ساعت دوازده نیمه شب به بعد و در توکیو روایت میشود. ماجرای دختری که به دلیل بیخوابی کارش قدم زدن در شهر، و رفتن به «کافی شاپ»هاست، و در این راه با حقایق و واقعیتهای جالبی از زندگی انسانها روبرو میشود، و به نوعی در روابط پیچیده ی آدمهای اطرافش گم میشود. ماجرای پرسه زدن این دختر در طول یک شب در توکیو، دستمایه ی اصلی داستان رمان است. تو گویی زنهای گمشده در آثار «موراکامی» تصویری تکراری هستند. «موراکامی» میگوید: «در زندگی من چند دختر ناپدید شده اند، و چند دختر نیز از من جدا نمیشوند. دوستانی داشته ام که از من جدا شده، بعضی خود را کشته اند و برخی ناپدید شده اند. دوست دارم چیزی در باره ی آنها بنویسم، اما اگر در باره ی آدمهای عادی بنویسم که لطفی ندارد. لذت نوشتن ساختن شخص و شخصیت است». بی تردید جانمایه ی داستانهای موراکامی فقدان است، و از سویی فانی بودن زندگی را روایت میکند. به گفته «کازوئو ایشیگورو» داستانهای «موراکامی» مالیخولیا را در زندگی طبقه متوسط میکاود. ا. شربیانی

  8. 4 out of 5

    Fabian

    Clearly his efforts are becoming more and more of a nuisance--because you must read his entire body of work, you need to trudge through latter stuff, like this one, Verrrry Minor Murakami*. The best thing? The open-endedness in some of the various hallucinations/tableaux. The most irritating? His 1 page-per American reference, and the halo to the Japanese master of All (Crap!) Things USA. *newly discovered literature genre (c.a. 2016)

  9. 4 out of 5

    Katie

    WHY DO I NOT READ MURAKAMI MORE OFTEN? Video review will be up Wednesday :)

  10. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    A delightful excursion into the mentality and rhythms of night in the city and the perspectives it gives to the meaning of our daytime lives. This 2007 novel contains the essence of Murikami’s weird and wonderful ways in a pure and restrained form. We fly around observing a set of characters as with an invisible camera, neutral and unjudging. Time ticks down explicitly through the night though the pacing of life at night has a timeless quality. The characters actions are muted and reflective, th A delightful excursion into the mentality and rhythms of night in the city and the perspectives it gives to the meaning of our daytime lives. This 2007 novel contains the essence of Murikami’s weird and wonderful ways in a pure and restrained form. We fly around observing a set of characters as with an invisible camera, neutral and unjudging. Time ticks down explicitly through the night though the pacing of life at night has a timeless quality. The characters actions are muted and reflective, their lives pregnant with unfulfilled potential. Murakami conjures up night and day as separate worlds, mirrors as windows between self and other, TV screens as doorways into alternative lives, and memory as a fuel to banish the nightmares of life with its light. The plot elements are fairly simple and insignificant in themselves. The pleasure of the story lies in the elegance their rendering and their evocative powers over our emotions and imagination. Young Mari can’t sleep and passes the time reading at an all-night Denny’s. She is worried about her sister, Eri, a model who has disappeared for a long time into sleep. We visit the sister for time to time as she sleeps, oblivious to some ominous activity that we see mysteriously appear on her unplugged TV screen. A former friend of Eri’s, Takahashi, arrives at the Denny’s and engages Mari in conversation, breaking through her reserve with his innocent and kind nature. He goes off to practice as a trombone player in a jazz band. Mari gets involved in translating for a Chinese prostitute at a “love hotel” who has been beaten and robbed by her client. She befriends the lady manager and a maid at the hotel and has some philosophical discussions with them. Later she catches up with Takahashi at his music practice and over breakfast they consolidate a future for their friendship as a new day dawns and the daytime people replace those of the night. Mari and Takahashi’s goodness and innocence contrasts with the evil brutality of the john and tough life experiences of the staff at the love hotel. The hotel is called Alphaville, which Takahashi recalls was the name of a Godard movie and explains the irony of its name to Mari: Well, for example, if you cry in Alphaville, they arrest you and execute you in public. ‘Cause in Alphaville, you’re not allowed to have deep feeling. So there’s nothing like love. No contradictions, no irony. They do everything according to numerical formulas. The other evil our heroes seem to counter is in the way people get disconnected in our modern civilization. The metaphor of Esi’s sleep relates to the her estrangement from Mari from the time in their childhood when Esi’s beauty put her on a track of popularity and modeling and inability to really listen to people ever after. In the process, Mari became the ugly duckling and took the track to shyness and loneliness and, to the benefit, an empathetic reflective personality. I love how Takahashi explains here how Esi’s effective disappearance haunts him: ”…the more time goes by, the stronger it gets, like, I’m not even here: I’m not included in what’s going on here. She’s sitting right there in front of me, but at the same time she’s a million miles away. Finally, no matter what I say, it doesn’t reach her. This layer, like some kind of transparent sponge kind of thing, stands between Eri Asai and me, and the words that come out of my mouth have to pass through it, and when that happens, the sponge sucks up almost all of the nutrients right out of them. She’s not listening to anything I say—not really. The longer we talk, the more clearly I can see what’s happening. So then the words come out of her mouth stop making it all the way to me. It was a very strange feeling.” It’s a paradoxical thrill how Murakami invites the reader in as a shared observer with the narrator, encouraging emotional identification of heroes and villains, while at the same time enforcing the rule of no participation or intervention with his tale. And if you have questions, you can experience him putting up a hand when he says things like: No one answers our questions. Our question marks are sucked, unresisting, into the final darkness and uncompromising silence of the night. All delicious fun and inspiration for me. At the boundary of day in this book, I felt like was waking from a dream as illustrated in these favored fragments: The new day is almost here, but the old one is still dragging its heavy skirts. Just as ocean water and river water struggle against each other at a river mouth, the old time and the new time clash and blend. … A cycle has been completed, all disturbances have been resolved, perplexities have been concealed, and things have returned to their original state. Around us, cause and effect join hands, and synthesis and division maintain their equilibrium. The wonderful feelings I came away with in this book remind me of those I was let with after collusion with the narrator in “Midsummer Night’s Dream”, with the fly-on-the-wall observer in Maupin’s “Tales of the City”, and the with the framer behind the saga in the Moody Blues album “Days of Future Past.” Quite a sparkling gem for me.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jr Bacdayan

    “It’s true, though: time moves in its own special way in the middle of the night.” I read Murakami’s After Dark exclusively at night time. Capricious as it might sound, I do believe that most of it I read after midnight. Darkness encroaching all around, only a dim desk lamp to illuminate my surroundings. Silence engulfing the atmosphere, sometimes unbearable, often intoxicating. A cup of coffee beside me, a platter of peanuts in front, I relished every moment of this novel. Why? I am captivated b “It’s true, though: time moves in its own special way in the middle of the night.” I read Murakami’s After Dark exclusively at night time. Capricious as it might sound, I do believe that most of it I read after midnight. Darkness encroaching all around, only a dim desk lamp to illuminate my surroundings. Silence engulfing the atmosphere, sometimes unbearable, often intoxicating. A cup of coffee beside me, a platter of peanuts in front, I relished every moment of this novel. Why? I am captivated by nighttime, more specifically, by the deepest hours of the night. I love the mysteriousness, the loneliness, the profound silence. I bask at darkness filling every recess of space, creating a world void of insanity. For in darkness all show their true form. The vision available to each is limited to the proximity of one’s immediate surroundings, no horizon in front, no skyline behind. All are isolated by this black cloak that contain things unknown. How can one sleep at a time so elegant and enigmatic? This light novel about strange things that happen during the night is an entree in the gourmet realm of Murakami’s works; a tasty little sample to savor standing amidst the master’s more formidable courses. It is a short interconnected tale about different people who, like me, are most alive when the earth is devoured by its own shadow. It may seem fleeting at times or possibly even rushed, but I think what really scintillates in this novel is the perfect atmosphere that is embodied by its shrill depiction of the night time. Forget all your reservations; forget what seems like an underdeveloped story. I feel that this particular work is Murakami’s artistic ode to the ephemeral night. I want to believe that Murakami purposely kept it short and lingering, for like the story, sometimes we want the night to last, to continue its darkness. But the night moves on its own time and way, we are bound by its deliciousness and we savor it. Nevertheless, as all the things good, it passes by as if it was but a moment. Darkness fades away, and all things are renewed. We then wait for the next sunset, another night, the darkness. Whether asleep or awake, no matter how you spend the night, one can never deny that things go interesting after dark.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Prashasti

    "Is action merely the incidental product of thought, or is thought the consequential product of action?" I'm merely three books old in the Murakami World and I find myself beguiled by the Murakamiesque surrealism. Admittedly, I've developed a taste for the way his stories unfold and come to an anomalous ending; After Dark is no exception to this. The story actually transports you to those wee midnight "after dark" hours and captures all the activities going on during that period. It's like the e "Is action merely the incidental product of thought, or is thought the consequential product of action?" I'm merely three books old in the Murakami World and I find myself beguiled by the Murakamiesque surrealism. Admittedly, I've developed a taste for the way his stories unfold and come to an anomalous ending; After Dark is no exception to this. The story actually transports you to those wee midnight "after dark" hours and captures all the activities going on during that period. It's like the entire plot is stretched to that one particular night which changes everything for every character which may or may not likely to be interlinked with one another. The beauty of the book lies in the fact there's this perfect blend of surrealism with realism, it's sometimes hard to distinguish the differences between the two. The way each character has his/her own story which conveys a part connecting to the lives of other character and bringing out a completely different angle which connects their lives in some way even they're not aware of, basically, it's just a representation of the fact how in real life we meet hundreds of people and in what way we touch their lives knowing or unknowingly. This one's a pacy read and I think I finished 90% of the book in a single reading, the remaining 10% was, in the beginning, it took me quite a while to settle into it, but once I was in, there was no looking back. Another great thing about reading all the Haruki Murakami books for someone like me, who's just so fond of Music, things way more delightful. Murakami is a music lover himself and it's quite evident from all his works, hence, there's a lot of musical references from different genres like jazz, classical and pop-tracks. I LOVE listening to most of the songs mentioned and that makes me love his books even more.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Steven Godin

    Another night has passed by and the day is upon us, telling from the light it is still early morning and from our viewpoint we are looking down on a city, we start to float towards a neighbourhood and pick out a house at random. We are now in the back garden of the property where two cats roam and can hear the sound of birds singing in the trees, we move in the direction of a second story window where the curtains are still closed, we enter. The first thing we notice is a man sat up in bed who a Another night has passed by and the day is upon us, telling from the light it is still early morning and from our viewpoint we are looking down on a city, we start to float towards a neighbourhood and pick out a house at random. We are now in the back garden of the property where two cats roam and can hear the sound of birds singing in the trees, we move in the direction of a second story window where the curtains are still closed, we enter. The first thing we notice is a man sat up in bed who appears to be reading but from our angle are unable to see the title, on a bedside table there is a lamp which is switched on, a cup of coffee and a digital alarm clock that reads 7:40am in bright blue neon. We head closer towards the man and can make out that the book is called 'After Dark' and he is close to finishing. Some time later we travel into another room where the same man is sat at a desk and is typing on a computer keyboard and on closer inspection of the screen we see it is a site called 'goodreads' and he appears to be writing a review of a book, we presume it's for the book he recently completed and it reads as the following, I have always had a fascination with the thought of major city's during the hours of night and one of those would be Tokyo, but not necessarily for what you can see like huge neon signs, the hustle and bustle of clubs, bars,food joints and people making there why home. No it's what you can't see that intrigues me as somewhere out there in the dead of night there is a whole other world going on that gives me the creeps, one of hidden menace, strange occurrences and bad vibrations, and this is exactly the feelings that Murakami conjures up in this intriguing, surreal and hypnotic tale. Set over the course of a single night with central themes of alienation and longing in a vast metropolis involving two young sisters, a musician, the employee of a love hotel and an office night worker who has committed a vicious assault. As ever nothing is straightforward and unexplained events are never answered with everything left hanging in the air, literally!, but that's what is great here as Murakami has cast a spell over us and it's up to the reader to draw their own conclusions. My only slight nag is it reads like a film script rather than a novel, and yes as others have mentioned David Lynch comes to mind, although I think turning any Murakami novel into a movie is mission impossible no matter who would be behind the camera. A short, bewildering shot in the arm that has the power to baffle the mind, chill your bones and warm your heart all at the same time. There is simply no one else like him.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jason Pettus

    (My full review of this book is larger than GoodReads' word-count limitations. Find it at the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography [cclapcenter.com].) "You know what I think?" she says. "That people's memories are maybe the fuel they burn to stay alive. Whether those memories have any actual importance or not, it doesn't matter as far as the maintenance of life is concerned. They're all just fuel. Advertising fillers in the newspaper, philosophy books, dirty pictures in a magazine, a bun (My full review of this book is larger than GoodReads' word-count limitations. Find it at the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography [cclapcenter.com].) "You know what I think?" she says. "That people's memories are maybe the fuel they burn to stay alive. Whether those memories have any actual importance or not, it doesn't matter as far as the maintenance of life is concerned. They're all just fuel. Advertising fillers in the newspaper, philosophy books, dirty pictures in a magazine, a bundle of ten-thousand-yen bills: when you feed 'em to the fire, they're all just paper." There are lots of people out there, myself included, who believe Japanese author Haruki Murakami to be the creator these days of some of the most beautiful dialogue currently being produced on the planet; and after coming across an example like the one above, how really can you not agree? For years a well-known secret among the Western world's literary hipsters, it was not until Murakami's embrace by indie heavy-hitter McSweeney's at the turn of the millennium that he acquired a mainstream following within English-speaking countries; now that his work is getting more and more known, however, there are more and more people now aware of what a magical and sometimes almost perfect thing a Murakami novel is. I'll admit right off the bat, for example, that I'm a big and longtime fan of Murakami myself; that before today's review I had already read four of his thirteen books now available in English, and in fact love his work so much that I've named one of my past Macintoshes after him. (See, anytime I acquire another Mac, I rename the hard drive after a writer I really admire, so that I can tell them apart when linking them together as an in-home network...and, um...er, never mind.) Murakami's latest English novel, then, the slim but still deeply strange After Dark, becomes this week my fifth full-length novel of his, and in fact...

  15. 4 out of 5

    Bob Lopez

    I didn't like the book very much. It read like something he tossed off, like it was a book between books, like a book to satisfy a contractual obligation: the literary equivalent of a B-sides collection, or maybe a greatest hits collection, only not very good. There wasn't anything very compelling about the characters. They were wooden, and not very fleshed out, like vaguely romanticized caricatures. The narrative suffered--I'm guessing--because of the translation; there were details here and ther I didn't like the book very much. It read like something he tossed off, like it was a book between books, like a book to satisfy a contractual obligation: the literary equivalent of a B-sides collection, or maybe a greatest hits collection, only not very good. There wasn't anything very compelling about the characters. They were wooden, and not very fleshed out, like vaguely romanticized caricatures. The narrative suffered--I'm guessing--because of the translation; there were details here and there that sort of pulled me out of the story to wonder how true they were: the main girl, a book-reading, chain-smoking, Godard-loving 19 year old, hangs out at Denny's--in Japan, although plausible, is it likely? It doesn't matter because every time it came up, I'd wonder the same thing; also, the girl wears a baseball cap (which I buy b/c baseball is huge in Japan), but it's a Red Sox cap (which I don't buy, b/c, even though baseball is huge in Japan, they have THEIR OWN TEAMS). How hard would that have been...to give her a cap w/ a Japanese team's logo? It's bad translating, unless Murakami wrote it in the original, too, which would speak more about his cultural and financial opportunism (how will this sell in the States, perhaps?) than the affected "disaffected teenager" he was creating. The translation may also have something to do with the fact that the novel reads like a poorly written, adolescent's graphic novel, particular the psuedo-romance that sort-of blossoms between two late-teens characters. The dialog is bad enough in some instances that it pulled me from the story to consider its plausibility... Here's some sample thought-dialog, by the book-reader's intellectually opposite and inferior older sister: For some reason, a different kind of reality has taken the place of my normal reality. Wherever it might have been brought from, whoever might have carried me here, I have been left shut up entirely alone in this strange, dusty, viewless room with no exit. Could I have lost my mind and, as a result, been sent to some kind of institution? After all, who gets to bring her own bed along when she enters the hospital? And besides this simply doesn't look like a hospital room. Neither does it look like a prison cell. It's just a big, empty room. Who in the world talks like this? Who in the world thinks like this? The book expects us to buy it, however. But in complete sentences? In complete paragraphs? And, let's not forget that the thinker of these thoughts is young, at most in her early twenties. As the narrative clearly establishes, she is poorly-schooled, and actually so pretty she's a model which caused her to further neglect her studies. And yet, you want me to believe she can think like this after just waking up in what is apparently a place she does not recognize? I know it's set in Japan, and I know the stereotypes about disciplined schooling in Japan, but c'mon...it reads entirely disingenuous. It's cold, and it sounds like a paper: Could I have lost my mind and, as a result, been sent to some kind of institution? Yeah, the grammar asylum. There was an interesting device employed by the narrative: first-person camera narration, with tracking, zooms, close-ups, and phrases like "We turn the camera..." and "We pull in to see..." Maybe that's second person camera...I don't know...

  16. 4 out of 5

    Bradley

    It's a clever little tale about night people, dreams (of all kinds), and subtle humor, mixed with grand and interesting detail in the style of so much horror fiction and a brooding (mostly) off-screen terror that lurks in the night. Did I mention it's Japanese? Sure, it should be kinda obvious from such a big name like Murakami, but this is, after all, my first foray into his works. What can I say? I thought it was pretty damn great. I didn't have any expectations, so I just let myself flow with It's a clever little tale about night people, dreams (of all kinds), and subtle humor, mixed with grand and interesting detail in the style of so much horror fiction and a brooding (mostly) off-screen terror that lurks in the night. Did I mention it's Japanese? Sure, it should be kinda obvious from such a big name like Murakami, but this is, after all, my first foray into his works. What can I say? I thought it was pretty damn great. I didn't have any expectations, so I just let myself flow with all the many characters and let myself enjoy the impressions and the interesting conversations and enjoy the admittedly adroit tension that lurked like a hot thread throughout the night. I loved the whole idea of Alphaville, but then, I am a sucker for all things SF, even if it's just a discourse about SF, imaginary or not. :) But then it all ties back into dreams, too, and while the majority of the novel is so firmly grounded in reality and hard-hitting details and thoroughly interesting character studies, it has it's other moments, too. :) I'm really looking forward to more of his work!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Trevor

    I have a strange relationship with Japan – both of my daughters became fascinated with Japan as children and both learnt Japanese. Then one of them went to Japan as an exchange student and then both of them studied Japanese at university, the other one then going to study at Tokyo University for a year. Now both of them work at a Japanese travel agency . At the same time we also have had a Japanese exchange student stay with us – well, more with my ex-wife. And so my Japanese daughter’s name is I have a strange relationship with Japan – both of my daughters became fascinated with Japan as children and both learnt Japanese. Then one of them went to Japan as an exchange student and then both of them studied Japanese at university, the other one then going to study at Tokyo University for a year. Now both of them work at a Japanese travel agency . At the same time we also have had a Japanese exchange student stay with us – well, more with my ex-wife. And so my Japanese daughter’s name is Eri – which became one of those odd things with reading this book. I wasn’t sure what to expect with this book – which is one way of saying that this wasn’t what I was expecting it to be at all. I couldn’t help feeling that this was almost teen-fiction. It would not surprise me in the least if this book appeared on some high school reading list. What I’d heard of the author before reading this was that he was a ‘post-modernist’ writer. Leaving aside that it is nearly impossible to know what that could mean anyway, I couldn’t help but feel this book (which might not be typical of his writing) was really very ‘modern’ – in the sense that it is a book of binaries – in fact, this could be a text book on how to construct binaries in fiction and how to have them play out against each other. The two sisters, the two 19 year old girls (one Chinese coming to Japan, one Japanese going to China), the two ‘computer experts’, the two frightening men in the television screens – and so on as far as the eye can see. Now, I don’t want to leave the impression that I was annoyed by this – actually, fiction is the best place for these kinds of binaries and they help us to understand the themes of texts in ways it is very hard to understand such themes otherwise. And this book is masterfully written and rather beautiful in many places. I want to leave this review without spoilers – and so I will. All the same, I’m going to tell a story. Years ago the phone rang in the middle of the night and I struggled out of bed to answer it. Dazed and not completely awake I said hello. I was in my late-twenties – so I don’t remember thinking ‘phone calls in the middle of the night are never good news’. I just answered the phone. The young man on the other end was furious. He didn’t ask me who I was or anything else, he just said, “I know what you did to my sister and I’m coming to get you for it”. I tried to tell him he had the wrong number, but he had hung up. Like I said, I’ve daughters – so, the idea that some idiot was coming around to teach me a lesson had lots of implications, none of which were all that attractive. Which was when I realised that just because this guy had the wrong number didn’t for a second mean he also had the wrong address – a coincidence that otherwise would be worthy of Sartre. Even so, I went to bed and found it very difficult to go back to sleep. Being on the receiving end of irrational aggression and the threat of violence isn’t something you can easily shrug aside – even when you know the person threatening you has made a mistake, even when you know they can’t make good on their threat. I remember thinking 'I wish I had said, I did, and I would do it again - see you when you get here' - but treating such situations with humour is almost always something that comes after the fact. Like I said, there was lots I liked about this book. But I can’t help feeling it is teen fiction, extremely good teen fiction, though.

  18. 5 out of 5

    TK421

    Murakami haunts me. His words. The images he uses to convey his message. His characters. Blended together, these elements make for a surreal reading experience that is both fantastic and illusory. On one page you have a straight forward narrative of life during the wee hours of the night in Japan. But on the other page, a journey is taking place. Where this journey will end is anyone's guess. From a sleeping sister to a brothel to a kid that plays in a jazz band to a woman searching for her rela Murakami haunts me. His words. The images he uses to convey his message. His characters. Blended together, these elements make for a surreal reading experience that is both fantastic and illusory. On one page you have a straight forward narrative of life during the wee hours of the night in Japan. But on the other page, a journey is taking place. Where this journey will end is anyone's guess. From a sleeping sister to a brothel to a kid that plays in a jazz band to a woman searching for her relationship with the sleeping sister, Murakami takes the reader to every corner of the imagination. If you like to be entranced during a reading experience, AFTER DARK is the perfect novel for you. To say more would only ruin the voyage. HIGHEST POSSIBLE RECOMMENDATION

  19. 5 out of 5

    Kate

    6.8.19 4.75/5stars Yeah, I had to drop this .25 stars mostly because Takahashi is the most ANNOYING character ever. But this reread I discovered SO many new things and came up with so many new theories. I talked about them all in my vlog for this that I will post ehre when its up because I'm way too tired to keep typing. still amazing, still loved it, but damn takahashi is obnoxious how did i not remember him? 9.24.16 5/5stars Holy shit this was INCREDIBLE. Give me a few minutes to fully put my thoug 6.8.19 4.75/5stars Yeah, I had to drop this .25 stars mostly because Takahashi is the most ANNOYING character ever. But this reread I discovered SO many new things and came up with so many new theories. I talked about them all in my vlog for this that I will post ehre when its up because I'm way too tired to keep typing. still amazing, still loved it, but damn takahashi is obnoxious how did i not remember him? 9.24.16 5/5stars Holy shit this was INCREDIBLE. Give me a few minutes to fully put my thoughts together because WOW. Okay, so, firstly; this book was seriously SO good. Like, it basically took everything I love in these types of novels and wrapped them all up perfectly in one nice little paperback - definitely one of my new favorite Japanese/Asian pieces. That being said, I don't think I can say this is a new favorite Murakami novel because this was so incredibly different from anything I've ever read by him. Throughout my reading of this I kept going "oh yeah, this is by Murakami" and wondering when certain things were going to happen; because, it's not necessarily that I have EXPECTATIONS going into his books, (I mean, I guess I KIND OF do) but I definitely expect certain characters to appear, certain events to happen, and certain themes to be alluded to - and everything from the writing to the characters to the plot was just wholly NOT Murakami. Now, is that a bad thing? Hell no, this book was fucking fabulous. It just wasn't Murakami at all, so I'm going to explain each of the aspects that I liked, but also say how they weren't similar to any of his previous works. Beginning with the writing. As far as I can remember, his books are always told in first person (at least in English). This book was told in third person and second person, which I normally despise second person but this book totally worked with it! It was told in third person in the sense that it said "Mari" and other character names rather than "I" but it was a half told in second person where it said "we" as in "we see this," "we are doing this" etc. Again, normally I hate this, but this story being told this way 100% improved it and made it feel like the reader was someone on the outskirts of this story, watching it unfold, or even sitting and watching a movie of it play out. The characters were FANTASTIC. One of my biggest criticisms with Murakami that makes me understand why people might not enjoy him very much is the fact that his characters between his books are all nearly identical - to the point where I honestly have a theory that the unnamed narrator and Toru Okada are the same person, but that's a different discussion. Now, the first five or six of his books I read I didn't mind these undriven male characters and flightly female characters, but the unique cast in this book was really a breath of fresh air. We had Mari and Eri who are sisters - Mari is our main protagonist who we meet while she's sitting in a restaurant reading a gigantic book and who we later find out is the "ugly" and "smart" sister who is in school to learn Chinese and has dreams of becoming a Chinese Translator. Eri is the beautiful sister who is shrouded in mystery until about half way through the book. Then there's Takahashi, our main male character who, although he seems interested in Mari, isn't actually really a love interest and actually seems to play a role in this story more so than just being there mindlessly. I ADORED Kaoru who is the manager of a love hotel and 100% embraces and loves herself even though she's a much more masculine female and she rocks okay, she was great. Then we have Komugi and Korogi who are workers at the love hotel and definitely have more to them than they seem (also they totally remind me of Maru and Moro from xxxHolic). And then there's the mysterious Shirakawa who I'm still trying to fully understand his role in the book. Each character was just so incredibly unique and fleshed out and just PERFECT. The plot was entirely new. Most of Murakami's books fall into two types - one that is 100% this weird romance story that Murakami is most well known from (IE; Norwegian Wood) or just a completely fucked up "what the hell did I just fucking read" type of story (IE; Wind Up Bird). But this was sort of a happy medium. It had FANTASTIC pieces of magical realism that left you wondering what the hell was going on, it didn't have a stupid romance but was definitely more on the contemporary side, and also just had a very unique premise to it - I mean, it was kind of a story about a love hotel, kind of a story about Mari, and kind of a "Sleeping Beauty" retelling so I mean it was just so unique and I LOVED IT OKAY. One thing this book had that I have discovere I ADORE is that it was told in one night. I'm not sure why but I always find books that take place over a few hours or a day are so much more impactful than books of the same length that overtake months or even years. I find the authors can go into so much more detail and make everything so much more important because we're literally only seeing less than 12 hours of these people's lives and I just really like when authors do that. I also really like how everything connects. Murakami does this wonderfully in many of his novels, and this one was no exception. (view spoiler)[ Such as how, when the young Chinese woman was beaten up and the guy on the motorcycle comes to get the man's photos, that motorcycle guy keeps popping up everywhere. It was obviously intentional because Murakami specifically points him out each time, but I just really enjoyed how it makes it obvious that many stories are all happening at once even though we're just focusing on a few. Plus obviously; Mari and Eri are sisters, Mari knows Takahashi from his date with Eri, Takahashi knows Kaoru which inevidably makes Mari meet her, which thus makes Mari meet the Chinese woman who introduces Shirakawa who is obviously connected to The Man with No Face who is connected with Eri SO IT'S A GIANT CONNECTING CIRCLE YO (hide spoiler)] My next thing I liked this also a spoier: (view spoiler)[ I also loved how this was not a fully closed story. I'm a big fan of open ended endings (these do not include books that just fucking end without any explanation cause those fucking suck okay) but books that leave just enough lose ends to leave you hanging and wondering and trying to figure things out are the BEST because I feel like I'm actually apart of the story and using my brain to figure things out. It also falls under the whole thing where this was just one night of these people's lives - under 12 hours has pasted from the beginning of the book. So it kind of goes along with the fact that we're seeing just this tiny little section of events, and theres still more that's going to happen after we turn the final page. I JUST LOVE IT AHH (hide spoiler)] Overall, obviously I fucking LOVED this book and highly recommend it. This was one of Murakami's few books I could say anyone can read because it only has vague mentions of sex and violence rather than actually using it in detail, and not many adult these besides those. But, still, I don't know how to feel about it as a Murakami book - obviously he's going to develop as a writer, but this book was such a big difference to anything that came before it. Honestly if his next few books I have to read are like this I'm gonna be incredibly pleased because his previous books were AMAZING but in a very different way, so this new style could be very refreshing! Okay so basically I loved it Go get a copy read it love it with me talk to me about it because no one seems to have read this book thanks xox

  20. 5 out of 5

    vivliovision

    Just a comment: Murakami’s "After Dark" is first and foremost a cinematic book. The story takes place in Tokyo, but as Borges once said (to Gabriel Nachmias): "Athens, New York, London—all of them are the same, after dark". By the same token, we may say that After Dark is set during a single night in a post-industrial metropolis. One night is enough time for Murakami, probably because every night is the same in metropolis. Although Borges is not explicitly mentioned in the book, Murakami makes Go Just a comment: Murakami’s "After Dark" is first and foremost a cinematic book. The story takes place in Tokyo, but as Borges once said (to Gabriel Nachmias): "Athens, New York, London—all of them are the same, after dark". By the same token, we may say that After Dark is set during a single night in a post-industrial metropolis. One night is enough time for Murakami, probably because every night is the same in metropolis. Although Borges is not explicitly mentioned in the book, Murakami makes Godard’s Alphaville a key feature of the plot. "Alphaville," says Emír Rodríguez Monegal, "is the city of Alpha—that is to say, of Aleph." "Come to think of it," says Murakami through the mouth of Kaoru, "the Alphaville may be the perfect name for a love ho." To make a long story short, Godard’s Alphaville makes several references to Borges' essay, "A New Refutation of Time," and Murakami’s After Dark makes several references to Godard’s Alphaville. Moreover, After Dark contains an Asterion too. Murakami’s readers are already familiar with that strange guy. In a sense, they met him at the heart of the Hotel Dolphin. In another sense, they met him in the Room 426 of "1Q84". "After Dark" is a fascinating novel about a girl who cannot sleep and about a girl who cannot wake up.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Phrynne

    If you opened this book up at any page without first looking at its cover you would still know immediately who the author was. Haruki Murakami has such a distinctive style it could be no one else. This particular book is very short and in my opinion not the best he has written. I loved the way he evokes those dark hours between midnight and dawn but there is less than usual substance to the book and an awful lot of mystery which is never solved. I think I needed a few more chapters and a little If you opened this book up at any page without first looking at its cover you would still know immediately who the author was. Haruki Murakami has such a distinctive style it could be no one else. This particular book is very short and in my opinion not the best he has written. I loved the way he evokes those dark hours between midnight and dawn but there is less than usual substance to the book and an awful lot of mystery which is never solved. I think I needed a few more chapters and a little bit more resolution to feel completely satisfied.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Edward Lorn

    I always have such a difficult time reviewing translated books. I usually don't know who to give credit to as far as the writing is concerned. This time around, not only is the writing fantastic, but the story is unlike anything else I've ever read. Although the book has been translated into English by Jay Rubin, I don't feel like anything was lost in translation. I'm completely comfortable giving my first Murakami novel five stars for this reason. First, let's discuss the style choice. Second-p I always have such a difficult time reviewing translated books. I usually don't know who to give credit to as far as the writing is concerned. This time around, not only is the writing fantastic, but the story is unlike anything else I've ever read. Although the book has been translated into English by Jay Rubin, I don't feel like anything was lost in translation. I'm completely comfortable giving my first Murakami novel five stars for this reason. First, let's discuss the style choice. Second-person omniscient present tense. Basically folks, this is the narrative style used mainly in scripts. The book breaks the fourth wall by making the reader part of the behind the scenes. It turns us in a camera, or as the book puts it "pure point of view". This style choice would normally piss me off, as lesser authors would use such a thing as a crutch because they need a character involved to see what's going on. There are several parts of this book wherein the reader is standing in a room or setting devoid of other people. Murakami gets away with this by giving the environment a life of its own, by personifying objects and locations. For example: the city in After Dark is just as much a character as Mari or Kaoru or Takahashi. That's impressive. An astounding feat that other authors have stumbled over. The failure that is Dean Koontz's terrible The City comes to mind. My favorite characters out of the bunch were Takahashi and Kaoru. Takahashi's musician's attitude was spot-on, and his chatty loneliness felt as real if not more so than Mari's introverted personality. These two characters are exquisite together, and I would have read five hundred pages of just them conversating. And Kaoru's character is a character I've not often read about. All scenes with her were fun and/or engaging. The entire plot revolves around a sleeping girl (Eri, Mari's sister) who seemingly only wakes up to eat. Her chapters are eye candy. Murakami has an uncanny ability of explaining complex ideas and visuals with simple language. Eri's "dreams" are seemingly uncomplicated prosaic masterpieces. Then we have the subplot with the Chinese mafia, which adds a bit of tension to the narrative. Not much, only a sprinkle, but enough that there's something going on in the midst of all the fantastic dialogue and character drama. In summation: After Dark isn't a book you read as much as it's a book you experience. This was my first Haruki Murakami novel, and it certainly will not be my last. In fact, I plan on reading 1Q84 after I have a palate cleanser, because this guy's writing is like fine wine. Final Judgment: Stunning in its accomplishments.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Shannon (Giraffe Days)

    Ah me I love Murakami. This is only the fifth book of his I've read but they never disappoint. I started with The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, which I read when I lived in Japan. Seemed fitting. Followed up with A Wild Sheep Chase, Dance Dance Dance and Underground, a non-fiction book where he collected and told the stories of survivors from the Tokyo Subway gas attack. I have more on my shelf. I plan to read every single book of his. After Dark is definitely one of his more approachable books. It was Ah me I love Murakami. This is only the fifth book of his I've read but they never disappoint. I started with The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, which I read when I lived in Japan. Seemed fitting. Followed up with A Wild Sheep Chase, Dance Dance Dance and Underground, a non-fiction book where he collected and told the stories of survivors from the Tokyo Subway gas attack. I have more on my shelf. I plan to read every single book of his. After Dark is definitely one of his more approachable books. It was almost "normal". I had thought, when I bought it back in 2008, that it was a collection of short stories set in one night - that's how the blurb reads. It's not, though in a way there are vignettes. Over the course of one night, we follow nineteen-year-old Mari, who doesn't want to go home, as she tries to keep herself awake. She encounters Takahashi, who met her once at the pool several years ago; he has an all-night jam session with his trombone. When a friend of his, Kaoru, who manages a love hotel, needs help with a Chinese prostitute who's been beaten up, Takahashi tells her where she can find Mari, who speaks Chinese. Meanwhile, at her home, her older sister, a beautiful model called Eri, is deeply asleep. There's something deeply disturbing and scary when her unplugged TV comes to life and a masked man watches her through the screen. So there is a touch of Murakami surrealism here, but only in the Eri scenes. Of course, the conversations the characters have are delightfully Murakami as well, though less bizarre than in some of his other books. The prose is gorgeous, a heavily descriptive style in After Dark that yet manages to be light and airy and somehow sinister at the same time. He has such a way at turning "telling" on its head: he narrates, describes, details, but shows more than he tells. It's subtle, you almost don't notice it at all. So much more is revealed in a simple descriptive sentence than is really told. It's in the telling, in the style. It reads so light, deceptively light. The atmosphere is rich and vibrant. Tokyo at night - it feels insular and narrow, but real. I remember the pockets, pockets of neon light, pockets of deep shadow. The feeling of being both awake and asleep at the same time. Of being alone amongst so many people. Of being part of a tapestry, or a labyrinth. This isn't what I expected, it's not as dark or surreal as some of his other books - more dialogue-centred, focused more primarily on interactions between people - but that just meant it wasn't predictable or boring. There's suspense, a feeling of tension, but not the anxious kind. More a feeling of expectation. And of course the mystery is unsolved, and leaves your imagination buzzing with possibilities. Just the way I like it :)

  24. 5 out of 5

    Selena

    After Dark is the first book by Haruki Murakami that I’ve read. I was warned by many that I would not enjoy it. But they’re all delusional and wrong. After Dark isn’t a traditional novel. It isn’t a plot driven story and in fact, not much actually happens. After Dark takes place in Tokyo over a period of seven hours. It begins with Mari Asai, sitting and reading her book in a Denny’s in the middle of the night. An old acquaintance sees her and reacquaints himself. The boy, Takahashi, eats at Mari After Dark is the first book by Haruki Murakami that I’ve read. I was warned by many that I would not enjoy it. But they’re all delusional and wrong. After Dark isn’t a traditional novel. It isn’t a plot driven story and in fact, not much actually happens. After Dark takes place in Tokyo over a period of seven hours. It begins with Mari Asai, sitting and reading her book in a Denny’s in the middle of the night. An old acquaintance sees her and reacquaints himself. The boy, Takahashi, eats at Mari’s table and volunteers information about himself. He is going to a late-night practice down the street - he plays the trombone. It is her fateful meeting with Takahashi that sets off a chain of events. Without meeting Takahashi, Mari would have stayed at the Denny’s until morning, reading her book and ordering food or coffee every couple of hours to justify her presence. Instead she has ended up at a love-hotel trying to save a prostitute. But this isn’t the “mystery” part of the story. The actual mystery in the story is right in front of you from the beginning, presented in the most bizarre way. Reading this book felt like a dream. Murakami often addresses the reader directly, “we.” He narrates part of the story as though the reader and writer are both a camera viewing the scene. It pulls you into the plot - confusing you at first - but like any dream, you just go with it. The place it took me was unexpected. A flaw that I found with the novel was the conversations between characters. Often the dialogue between Mari and Takahashi lacked a human feel to it. It felt like he attempted to shove too much information into pieces of the dialogue. The ending of the story also left me a little worried. The revenge of the abused prostitute was never realized and thereby left out. Did someone punish the man that did such horrible things to her? Will Mari ever see Takahashi again? Does he even really like her? The note of hope that the book ends on left me only partly convinced. I’m told that this book is not indicative of Murakami’s style - that this book was “experimental.” I look forward to reading more of him because this book, though it had its flaws, was a worthwhile read. It felt like a hallucination.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth Kadetsky

    As I Murakami fanatic, I feel justified in saying, Eh. I suppose he's the master of fashioning a career resting on two or three great novels (Kafka... Windup...) and then keeping his name in the news by producing plenty of light as air oughtta-be-short stories padded so thick with fat margins and linespaces that make your eyes vibrate that they actually seem like 244 -page books, in fact are 244 pages for that matter. According to my calculations this is about 40 - 45,000 words. Call me bitter, As I Murakami fanatic, I feel justified in saying, Eh. I suppose he's the master of fashioning a career resting on two or three great novels (Kafka... Windup...) and then keeping his name in the news by producing plenty of light as air oughtta-be-short stories padded so thick with fat margins and linespaces that make your eyes vibrate that they actually seem like 244 -page books, in fact are 244 pages for that matter. According to my calculations this is about 40 - 45,000 words. Call me bitter, but the publishing gods tell me a novel's gotta be 50,000 words if even that's enough, though apparently this means unless you're M Chabon or H Murakami. Oh well, that's just a rant. What is wrong with this book, aside from the fact that I might have looked more kindly upon it had it been one of several pieces in a collection for which I paid $12? The language level is about third grade. I know, Murakami is Carveresque, and is often so in a beautiful way, Yet here I felt he took four or so characters and put such simple condescending phrases in their mouths they seemed to be Manga people, made up for kids. There is very little sentence by sentence that retreats from the here-and-now narrative--that's definitely Carveresque, fine. The esoteric, metaphysical mystery part didn;t quite gel for me, as it did in Windup... and Kafka..., so it came off sci-fi-ish, and to no real end or meaning, which is the problem with a metaphysical mystery when the author's not a hundred percent twisting up his brain to make it meaningful. Auster pulls these off, Murakami does sometimes. Okay enough rant.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jeremy

    What a weird, beguiling little book. You just sort of float around while this Altman-esque point of view shifts back and forth between a little ensemble of strange, endeeringly damaged people. Murakami's narration is what really makes this work so well, the voice he uses is almost mesmerizing at times. The whole thing is just suffused with this jazzy, hypnotic stlye that occasionally veers into something darker, something more primevally resonant. If William Gibson and David Lynch wrote a book t What a weird, beguiling little book. You just sort of float around while this Altman-esque point of view shifts back and forth between a little ensemble of strange, endeeringly damaged people. Murakami's narration is what really makes this work so well, the voice he uses is almost mesmerizing at times. The whole thing is just suffused with this jazzy, hypnotic stlye that occasionally veers into something darker, something more primevally resonant. If William Gibson and David Lynch wrote a book together while listening to Kind of Blue, they would probably have come up with something like this. What does happen out there in the world after dark? What indeed.

  27. 5 out of 5

    K.D. Absolutely

    Thank you, Ranee for lending me this book during Meet-Up 1. Murakami still to disappoint. 4 stars! Tokyo. Closed to midnight till early morning. 19-y/o Mari is reading a thick book in a Denny's (yes, that same breakfast resto chain in the US). Then comes the band member, Takahashi who happens to recognize her as his date in a swimming party several years ago. This is the opening scene of the book and I will not tell you the whole story as this is just a novelette (244 pages) that took me only a d Thank you, Ranee for lending me this book during Meet-Up 1. Murakami still to disappoint. 4 stars! Tokyo. Closed to midnight till early morning. 19-y/o Mari is reading a thick book in a Denny's (yes, that same breakfast resto chain in the US). Then comes the band member, Takahashi who happens to recognize her as his date in a swimming party several years ago. This is the opening scene of the book and I will not tell you the whole story as this is just a novelette (244 pages) that took me only a day to read so I will not spoil the fun. Again, Murakami's eloquence is very evident in this novelette. Unlike in Kafka on the Shore, Wind-Up Bird Chronicle and Sputnik Sweetheart, there are fewer fantasy elements. In fact, I can only recall two. There is the hovering camera (that at some point Harukami wants our eyes to be) and the television with Mari's older and doing an extended sleep (reminds me of Saturo Nakata in Kafka) sister Eri comes in and out. However, the music is still very much present in the film (Murakami used to work in a jazz club anyway) and the novel still has those scenes beaming with Murakami's life lessons. My favorite here is the conversation between Mari and the love ho (short for hotel which is actually a motel in Japan) attendant Korogi. It even has Korogi's words of wisdom regarding the importance of "waiting for the right man" (paging my 15-y/o daughter Jillian). However, the one that struck me most is this line from Korogi: "You know what I think?" she says. "That people's memories are maybe the fuel they burn to stay alive. Whether those memories have any actual importance or not, it doesn't matter as far as the maintenance of life is concerned. They're all just fuel. Advertising fillers in the newspaper, philosophy books, dirty pictures in a magazine, a bundle of ten-thousand-yen bills: when you feed 'em to the fire, they're all just paper. The fire isn't thinking. 'Oh, this is Kant,' or 'Oh, this is the Yomburi evening edition,' or 'Nice tits,' while it burn. To the fire, they're nothing but scraps of paper. It's the exact same thing. Important memories, not-so-important memories, totally useless memories: there's no distinction -- they're all just fuel." I will read more Murakami books. This is my 4th of him and they are all good. I will finish them all before I die. If I die unexpectedly, I will tell Jillian to put those Murakami books that I have not read yet inside my coffin so I can read them in heaven.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Ivan

    I think this book is great Murakami entrance test. It's short and bit simpler than his other works but in no way worse so if you like this one chances are you will love his more notable works.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Ivana Books Are Magic

    TIME TABLE It is probably worth mentioning that all events in this novel happen during a single afternoon/night. In that sense, the title After Dark is very appropriate. Besides things that actually happen, there is a lot of talk of things that happened in the past. The characters themselves analyse their own actions and wonder in what ways their past has shaped them. There is a lot of confessing and remembering going on. In that sense, it could be said that this novel also speaks of memories and TIME TABLE It is probably worth mentioning that all events in this novel happen during a single afternoon/night. In that sense, the title After Dark is very appropriate. Besides things that actually happen, there is a lot of talk of things that happened in the past. The characters themselves analyse their own actions and wonder in what ways their past has shaped them. There is a lot of confessing and remembering going on. In that sense, it could be said that this novel also speaks of memories and analyses our relationship with the past. STRANGERS IN THE NIGHT Strangers in the night. That's the first thing that comes to my mind when I think of this novel. By that I primarily mean Takahashi and Mari, because that is what they basically are. Two strangers coming together, two individuals who slowly but surely start a genuine conversation. A conversation that causes an inner change in them to come about. At first their conversation is a bit dry. Mari clearly wants to be by herself and read her book in peace but since the restaurant is packed (or so he claims), Takahashi sits next to her. The reason why he wants to talk to Mari is because they sort of know each other. They’ve been a double date some time ago, and now Takahashi questions Mari about it- and about her sister who is a known beauty. THE CONVERSATION Not a good way to start a conversation with a young lady? Asking her questions about her sister in comparison to whom she seems an ugly duckling? Well, you’ll have to read and see….for I don’t want to spoil anything for you. This novel (some might argue a novelette) is rather short, so it is best not to reveal too much of what is about to happen after this conversation. I will, however, say that Hari, whom Murkami describes with care in the very beginning, is certainly an interesting character. The fact that she plans to spend an entire night reading the book tells us something about her- but as she engages in the conversation we learn even more. Speaking of that conversation, one could even argue that this conversation is what puts things into action. Alright, After Dark is not exactly plot driven novel, but the events that take place, take place mostly because of that conversation. The conversation is important for both the plot and the ending. Sure enough, their conversation gets interrupted a couple of times, but these two do talk- and they talk well. Honestly, I could have had listened to them talk for another novel or two. These two establish a real conversation, one in which they do more than confess their secrets to one another, they share something genuine- and that sharing is what leads to possible changes in their lives. Their honesty opens a new world to them, I would add. WHY IS IT (SOMETIMES) EASIER TO TALK WITH A STRANGER? Dialogues often play an important role in Murakami’s novels and After Dark is no exception. Moreover, in After Dark those dialogues are often conversations between people who just met- but who have for whatever reason, connected. Often secrets are discovered and told in these conversations- sometimes just hinted on but at any rate, there is a lot of sharing (intellectual/emotional/imaginative) going on. Dialogues also serve as a link between different characters. Most conversations are between two people (as far as I noticed), so mentioning other people is a way to not add more light to characters as well as explain the dynamics of different relationships/ friendship. Apart from THE conversation I just talked about, there are many interesting dialogues in this novel. It could even be argued that dialogues are a writing tool for Murakami. It is mostly through dialogues that we learn more about characters. When Mari speaks with a young Chinese immigrant girl, we learn a lot about Mari as well- if not right away but later on. For example, in conversation with Takahashi and others Mari reflects on the girl. Similarly, every time Mari connects with another female character she just met, we learn a bit more about Mari- and about the estranged relationship with her sister. During this difficult night three different women open up to Mari and as a result she opens up to them- and not only to them. I suppose that speaking with strangers is really easier sometimes. THE ART OF TALKING, WRITING AND READING If you think about it, reading is a bit like talking to a stranger. As a reader, we are listeners. We might comment, but the other side doesn’t really hear us- as is true in real conversations. Sometimes, the conversation really comes to life years after it happened- when we realize what was really said or implied. I described some conversations that took place in this novel as meaningful dialogues and that is how I viewed them- but there was one conversation (that was retold by Takahashi) that explained exactly that kind of situation- a person (a woman) who talked to Takahashi wasn’t really talking to him, or establishing a dialogue but rather just getting things of her chest. I can’t help wondering isn’t writing a bit like that. You just let things out for others to find…or is writing more like an endless conversation, one that goes on for an eternity? What about reading then? Are writing and reading just an endless dialogue of sorts? Is there such a thing as a true monologue? Or does our speech always carry the ghosts of others? Does our every utterance depend on others as much as on ourselves? MIRROR, MIRROR ON THE WALL…. Reflection is an important theme in this one. Mari and her sister Eri are reflected in one another. On surface, they couldn’t be more different. Eri is the model/student/beauty who tries to please everyone and ends up being miserable. Mari is the individualist/student/ insomniac who tries to please herself but is aware that she hasn’t accomplished much. Both sisters probably envy one another- and they don’t realize how similar they really are. Reflection also happens when we experience Eri’s dreams (if that is what those postmodernist chapters are) and see her reflected in and within the screen. Mari is also reflected in the Chinese immigrant girl who is exactly the same age as she is. CRIME AND PUNISHMENT The motive of revenge is subtly woven into this story. During the course of this novel, a violent crime occurs. A man beats up a prostitute in a love hotel named Alphaville (taken in consideration the theme of SF movie of the same title, the name of the hotel seems appropriate). Will this vile man be punished? Will there be a just punishment for his crime? Some things that happen in the novel seems to suggest that there will be but noting is absolutely sure….but the funny thing is- as far as the narrative follows this guy he seems perfectly normal. He listen to classical music while he works long hours, he talks with his wife in a perfectly civil way…. What makes him beat up a young girl? Perhaps Murakami wanted to examine a darker part of human nature. More than once in the novel, there is this implication that there are many things hidden in the darkness- and it is not only the darkness of the night, or the darkness of some dark sinister alley- it is also our own personal darkness, things we hide and are afraid of, things that grow in the dark. Crime, punishment and justice are some of the issues examined in this one. Similarly, Takahashi suddenly decides to becomes a serious student of law (rather than a band musician who was only pretending to be a law student) after he witnesses a trial that shakes him up. During his long conversation with Hari, Takahashi had on one occassion spoke of how he suddenly realized there is no thick wall separating people who commit murder and regular people. Everyone can become a criminal, a murderer…. Perhaps it is true that everyone has their own demons, will they fight them or let them take over is up to them. INSOMNIA Insomnia is an important motive in this one. Mari is an insomniac and it seems that her sister sleeps enough for both of them. However, her sister’s sleep is actually a sign of distress- as is probably her own insomnia. Too much or too little sleep- neither is healthy or good- and in this novel perhaps both signal inner unhappiness. The atmosphere of the book is very much in accordance with the title of the book. At one point it is hinted that time flows differently during the night. I would have to agree with that. I would just hinted to add that Murakami did a good job at capturing that strange flow of time. DREAMS I know it was said a million times, but there is really something dreamy about the way Murakami writes. In this novel, his language is somewhat simplified- and not as poetic as usual (as far as I can remember) but still his writing flows beautifully. The novel is, unless I’m mistaken, set in Tokyo. This urban environment doesn’t hinder the dreamy atmosphere of the book- it reinforces it. The places where events take place are places ignored by society- a restaurant late at night, love hotel and back alleys. Perhaps it is just as the protagonist of the Orpheus Descending said, two different kind of people inhabit a city- night people and day people. They live very different lives and never meet- despite living in the same dream. THE NARRATIVE VOICE AND THE POST-MODERNIST ELEMENTS I found the narrative voice to be very interesting. For most part, it is a third person narration that fits well with long dialogues. At times, the descriptions resemble those of a script. That makes this novel seems like a film at times. This is especially so in those chapters that are written in camera mode. Those would be the chapters that focus on Sleeping Beauty- Eri. The narrative voice informs us of this camera mode and speaks directly to us as readers. It mentions, more than once, that it (the voice) is just a visual observer that it can’t influence events or glance into Eri’s mind. Those postmodern chapters were well written and only a bit confusing. Who is the man with the mask? All in all, I would say that the postmodern and experimental elements fit the novel well. As I said, some things are still unclear to me. For example, was there really someone stalking Eri? Was that stranger in the screen just a metaphor? Or was he manifestation of her own fears? Or of our own fears? THE MOOD I WAS IN WHILE READING I actually picked up this novel while I was in the library and read it there. I was in mood for a Murakami book, so I went with this one and I’m not sorry I read it. The novel did feel familiar in terms of the style it was written but not in a bad way, it wasn’t boring or predictable, it just felt like being on a known territory. I have picked After Dark up expecting to enjoy it- and I sure it. IF I WAS 19….. If I was 19, I would probably give this novel five starts. Not that it can’t be read by regular adults, but it seems to be simply perfect for young adults/teenagers. Not just because of the self-searching theme (for really that process of trying to figure out who we are---- can happen and probably does happen at any age) but because I felt a lot like Takahashi and Mari when I was their age. I felt this feeling of restlessness, uncertainty and cautious optimism that is so characteristic of young adults. Most of the characters in this novel are quite young- and I’m kind of sorry I didn’t read this novel sooner. I would have probably enjoyed it more if I was 19 or in my early twenties. FINAL THOUGHTS This novel was an easier read than I expected- I don’t mean that in a bad way. After Dark was not in any way banal. It was inspiring enough to make me write a long review and that counts for something, right? This novel is perhaps more complex that it seems at first glance. It certainly deals with some profound topics, but still I have this impression that it is not as complex as other Murakami’s works. It is complex enough to be called good literature, but as far as Murakami is concerned, I must admit that I liked his other works more. After Dark was very readable and approachable, yet it was not my favourite Murakami so far. I can’t point my finger at what is missing- but I do have a feeling that something was left unsaid. Simply said, it is not- at least in my view- Murakami at its best. However, it is still a very good novel. Highly recommended!

  30. 4 out of 5

    RandomAnthony

    Review as of July 2011...second reading... I first read Murakami's After Dark in the hot rush of unreasonable fandom. The novel's release coincided with my inhaling of Murakami's catalog. I'm not sure if reading most of his works consecutively served me well; I get the details and characters confused from storyline to storyline. And After Dark couldn't live up to my fanatical expectations. So, a couple years past the first reading, I decided to give After Dark another shot on a steamy vacation we Review as of July 2011...second reading... I first read Murakami's After Dark in the hot rush of unreasonable fandom. The novel's release coincided with my inhaling of Murakami's catalog. I'm not sure if reading most of his works consecutively served me well; I get the details and characters confused from storyline to storyline. And After Dark couldn't live up to my fanatical expectations. So, a couple years past the first reading, I decided to give After Dark another shot on a steamy vacation week when nothing on my shelves enticed. I'm glad I did. This book is closer to the Hard-Boiled Wonderland Murakami, with the symbolic and metaphysical abstraction inherent in the sleeping girl moving from one side of the television screen to the other, but connects to the Kafka on the Shore Murakami with the focus on a teenager wandering on her own, like a Japanese Alice, if you will, encountering different characters along the way. After Dark is perhaps the most urban of the author's work; Mari encounters dead prostitutes, Chinese motorcycle gangs, and abusive, deceptive salarymen. But most of the action, beyond the Lynch-ian sleeping girl scenes, is conversational. Mari talks, in the bright light of an all-night Denny's or the sterility of a Japanese love hotel, about memory, identity, and personal evolution. The middle of the night is perfect for these conversations. Defenses lower and overwhelming darkness looms just outside the door. I took my time with After Dark the second time around and, while it's still not my favorite Murakami, I see where the novel fits in his catalog. This seems like the kind of book he had to get out of his system. It's dreamy and Cimmerian, more cinematic than his other work. I wouldn't start a new Murakami reader with After Dark but, when fans find their way to the book, I think they'll see the appeal. Edit: Re-reading as of mid-July 2011. I couldn't remember what this one was about, and I think I read too quickly last time, so I'm re-reading now and enjoying it more the second time around. Full review soon. This is the original review: This might be my least favorite Murakami to date, but I still liked the book. I may have read too many Murakami texts in a row and overdosed. Anyway, I can't quite figure out what separates this book from the novels, while each of the longer works has their own stamp and character. Don't get me wrong, low-end Murakami is as good as most other writer's best work. Perhaps I should check the book out again.

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