Review – After Dark February 22, 2012Posted by thehypermonkey in 5 stars, Foreign.
Tags: "book review", "book reviews", after dark, books, haruki murakami, japan, kindle, reading
by Haruki Murakami
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.
Experiencing this novel, because it was indeed an experience, was like watching a citified episode of Twin Peaks. It had all the elements of surrealism and all the eccentric characters you’d come to expect out of the show. While disconcerting at times, it was also all the more intriguing.
It also had an eloquent prose that was like music to the ears. It urged me on to read until late into the night.
This was a more plot-driven novel. From seeing Mari in a Denny’s meet Takahashi the trombone player to having her propelled to a love-hotel. Then onwards into the night, you’re taken on a fascinating trip into the deep night of Tokyo.
While Eri remains asleep throughout the book, she’s not left out of the book. You get a definite sense of who she is and what her personality is like from the story. In fact she’s a key player.
I especially liked the way Murakami drew you in as a reader, cajoling you to take part of the experience along with himself as the narrator. You weren’t simply reading. You were, like I said, experiencing.