Carole Reviews: After Dark – Haruki Murakami

Author: Haruki Murakami
Title: After Dark
Genre: Mystery, Fantasy, Contemporary
Pages: 191
First Published: December 2004
Where I Got It: Borrowed from Library

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.”

This is the second time I’ve read this book and the second book I’ve read by Mr. Murakami.

Ahhhhhhhh, I needed a good dash of Haruki Murakami’s writing in my reading. I haven’t read anything by him in a long time and this book flashed in my mind. I remember liking it a lot before, I had given it four stars a while back, but now that I’ve grown and I have a better grasp of his writing style, I adore this even more.  He reminds me a mixture of Poe and of O’Neill and then thrown in the Japanese flavor with it.There is just something so magical about his stories. There is something so heavy and thought provoking. 

Especially this one.

My brain is still trying to connect all the connections together. Everything in his stories somehow, someway connect. Everything has purpose. I really like that. It really makes your mind avoid wanting to skim, because a clue to what the hell is going on is hidden in the text. Fantastic. I know, I know I’m acting biased because I am in utter awe of the author. Loving his writing makes me feel slightly biased. Haha. Oh well.

Poor Mari…all she wanted to do was just read her book and forget the world, but no, no, she is forced (due to her goodness) to interact with the people of the night. She is forced to take a glimpse of a world a million miles away from her. However, thanks to her small adventure she gained insight to herself. It made her stronger, more confidence, a chance at love, and a chance to clear up her misty relationship with her sister.

I love nearly everything about this tale…but the only thing that irked me a little was an uncertain ending. He left it up to the reader to dictate what happens. Yes, he gives some possible foreshadows for you to use to create the ending, but still…it’s left up to reader to really decide. I HATE THAT! It normally doesn’t bug other people, but for me its annoying. I want to know! I didn’t make the story, so I don’t want to decide what happens. Sighs. Oh well.

In the end, this is a good book. I would recommend this book and the author (himself) to those that love a little bit of darkness, a little bit of humor, thought-provoking theme, interesting characters, and a story that will make you take a second look at society, reality, and yourself. In the end, though, I still have to give this 4 stars, due to the ending.

Favorite Character(s): Mari (reminds me of me in a way)
Not-so Favorite Character(s): Mmmmm the business man (jackass). 

28 thoughts on “Carole Reviews: After Dark – Haruki Murakami

  1. brizmus says:

    I LOVE Murakami! Somehow, this is his only one I haven't read (well, I haven't read the newest one, either, as it's not translated into English yet), but your revieew makes me feel like I HAVE TO! Sounds awesome!~

  2. Carole Rae says:

    :3 A fellow Murakamian! haha. But I feel bad that's I've only read two of his books so far…none have really been available at my library. However, I just became a member of another library that has access to more books so I shall take advantage!

  3. Lauren Elizabeth says:

    Ooh glad you enjoyed this! I love Murakami, you're so right, I never feel comfortable skimming when I read hi because I feel like I'm going to miss something important. Such a talented author! Lovely review 🙂

  4. Staci says:

    I just finished my first Murakami book and loved the first 2/3's but the last 1/3 of the book was too detached for me. This is one though that I considered reading earlier on and I think I will!!!

  5. Jenny says:

    "He left it up to the reader to dictate what happens. Yes, he gives some possible foreshadows for you to use to create the ending, but still…it's left up to reader to really decide. I HATE THAT!"ME TOO! I'm a reader that pretty much wants everything spelled out for me at the end. I like to know what's going to happen to everyone down the line, and it's always frustrating for me when it's left to me to hazard a guess:) Other than that though, it sounds fabulous!

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