Sunday, January 31, 2010

After Dark by Haruki Murakami (Review)


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.
from the Random House site

My Review:
I read this for the Japanese Literature Reading Challenge or I never would have thought about it. This author definitely has a way with words. The plot itself is kinda depressing so you have to look past it. The characters are interesting and come off the page. It is out of my comfort zone but I don't regret reading it. The setting is unique, Tokyo, Japan, between the hours of 11:56 P. M. to 6:52 A. M. The center of the story is Mari and in the background her sister Eri. I really like the book summary above from the publishing site so I am not going to redo it here. My impression is a weird but oddly riveting book. Recommended.


mel u said...

I enjoyed this book for the feel for late night Tokyo that it gave us-I think it is a good first Murakami-very good review

Tracy said...

Wierd and oddly riviting huh? well that along makes me wana crack it open...

Thanks for sharing!

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Bookfool said...

Murikami writes out of my comfort zone, too, but he is one amazing writer.

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