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After Dark by Haruki Murakami

After Dark (edition 2008)

by Haruki Murakami

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5,140181870 (3.62)211
Title:After Dark
Authors:Haruki Murakami
Info:Vintage (2008), Paperback, 256 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:21stcentury, contemporary, japan, japanese, sisters, adolescence, menandwomen, consumerism, objectivity, thirdperson, music, jazz, observation, night, urban, city, tokyo, sex, sexuality, violence, death, xy

Work details

After Dark by Haruki Murakami

  1. 20
    The Elephant Vanishes by Haruki Murakami (Miss-Owl)
  2. 00
    Number9Dream by David Mitchell (isigfethera)
    isigfethera: Both are slightly surreal coming-of-age-ish stories set in Tokyo. I think there is some similarity in style too.
  3. 00
    Tongue by Kyung-Ran Jo (freddlerabbit)
    freddlerabbit: Jo's style has been compared with Murakami's - I disagree, but the work Tongue bears the most resemblance to is After Dark.
  4. 00
    The Lost Episodes of Beatie Scareli by Ginnetta Correli (Jacey25)
    Jacey25: another novel where things are vaguely unsettling and the concept of being watched on television takes an interesting twist- a fantastic quick read

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Showing 1-5 of 158 (next | show all)
I didn't write anything in this review since I was still gathering my thoughts. I guess I should write something now since Ayustika liked this review.

This book reads differently than other Murakami books. It's as if someone's narrating while watching a movie, especially when it comes to scenes with Ari Asai in it. Murakami's articulate as always, not only when it comes to emotions, but also the literal point-of-view of the reader. Stuff like "we are looking down directly from the ceiling to the bed" or "from our vantage point, we cannot see the TV flicker, but we see it in the reflection on the other objects". I don't understand what he tried to achieve by writing such impartial, third person prose, but it strikes a discordant note, and it was a bother trying to read through the Ari's chapters, and I kept skipping forward. Maybe it was to show that Ari is truly, both literally and metaphorically, separated from the living world, but my philistine mind cannot make that connection, even with hindsight.

The rest of the book was delightful though. The book explores the themes of loneliness in the modern world, how disconnected we are from our closest or immediate friends/family, and how difficult it is to truly express yourself to someone and make yourself vulnerable. One recurring occurrence in this book is someone opening up to a stranger, signifying that it's easier to do that instead with someone you know well. In my opinion, with someone you know, you have painstakingly (or not) created an image of yourself, the way you want him/her to know you, which may not be necessarily true. It's difficult to bring yourself to demolish that image, and outpour all your insecurities and problems. When opening up to strangers, there are no such reservations. This is evident in the way Takahashi and Mari open up to each other, and how Kaoru and Korogi both divulge their secrets in Mari.

The book reads like a collection of interrelated, chronological short stories, with the chapter names being the time on the clock. In some ways it's haunting and poetic, but disappointing in other ways. Maybe it's just my heightened expectations when it comes to Murakami. ( )
  Crontab_e | Sep 19, 2017 |
After dark, the city is a different woman. She sheds off her daytime clothes, emerging uninhibited, transformed. For the dark hours court extremes. The night’s shadows hide the darkest of crimes but also random acts of kindness, nascent friendships and loves. The night brings hedonist pleasure to some, hard work to others. And as the mystics teach us, the night, whether real or metaphorical, can bring cleansing and growth.

While the rest sleep, those who stay awake form an ill-assorted family of sinners and saints, heroes and villains, hunters and prey. The diverse cast which people's Murakami’s brief novel “After Dark” seems to be a cross-section of this community of outcasts, whom we accompany on the streets of Tokyo over one eventful night. There’s Mari Asai, a timid student who kills the early hours reading in a Denny’s. There’s Takahashi, a jazz trombonist who’s doing his last gig. There’s retired female wrestler Kaoru and her fellow employees at the Alphaville “love hotel”. There’s also a Chinese female prostitute battered by an improbable assailant, the suave office worker Shirakawa. And, in a typically Murakamesque (Murakamian?) touch there’s also Mari’s sister Eri, an attractive young woman who has decided to “go to sleep”, and who lies in bed in a sort of suspended animation, a cross between a latter-day Snow White and Sleeping Beauty.

What struck me about this book (which I read in an Italian translation by Antonietta Pastore) is how “cinematic” it is, in the sense that it often reads like a film script. There are swathes of dialogue, reported in direct speech. Much of the rest of the text consists of minute descriptions of sights and sounds. Often Murakami consciously evokes the perspective of a video camera, zooming in and out of scene. We can also hear the soundtrack to this imaginary movie – the title itself refers one of Takahashi’s favourite songs, Curtis Fuller’s “Five Spot After Dark”, but there several other musical references, from the Japanese hip-hop playing in the 24/7 supermarket to the Scarlatti and Bach which Shirakawa works and exercises to in a deserted office block. (Incidentally, one reader has helpfully built an After Dark playlist on Spotify).

I can’t say I’ve read many of Murakami’s works - this is only my third after Norwegian Wood and Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage. However, as I’ve said elsewhere, Murakami always leaves me somewhat perplexed. His books go down so easily and enjoyably, like a glass of sparkling wine. At times, even as they describe a city I’ve never been to, and a life I’ve never lived, they seem to speak directly to me, as if they knew my secrets. On the other hand, other passages seem trite, the dialogue artificial (why do Murakami’s conversations end up sounding like a counselling session?) I honestly can’t fathom him, just as most of his characters can’t seem to understand themselves. ( )
  JosephCamilleri | Jul 4, 2017 |
I believe that the power of Murakami's work is in it's ability to make the regular irregular. After reading this book I was speaking with someone about how his books generally belong in a genre that I find hard to define. I almost want to consider his work some kind of Science Fiction because they can at times seem to be so fantastically strange...But the truth is they aren't really Science Fiction...I don't claim to be able to define his genre, but I feel that in his work, in particular this book, Murakami weaves a story of regular people, people with nothing special about them other than the fact that they are the subjects of the stories he is telling...but it is in that regular, 'nothing special about them' way that they become much more interesting than even the most out of the ordinary characters we can imagine...their regularity is exactly what makes them intensely interesting...However, for myself, it is also the possibility that these characters may be a reflection of many of the people who read Murakami's stories that makes them much more exciting...thus creating a sense that our own, not extremely out of the ordinary lives may in fact be a much more interesting adventure than we had previously imagined...the possibility that the mundane and the 'normal' and the regular are in fact not what they appear to be...Hence the power of his work seems to lie in the feeling that as strange and fantastical or as mundane and regular as his stories may seem they all rest on a precipice of believability...there is always, to myself anyways, a possibility that what he is describing is not completely out of the realm of what may be possible...This is not Murakami's strangest story, but it comes highly recommended from someone who has read all of his books. Anyone who has read his stories will know that there are two 'basic' types, the 'Norwegian Wood' type and the 'Hard Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World' type. This story falls into the 'Norwegian Wood' type, meaning it is strange, but not dramatically so. I highly recommend it and I believe that some might find the narrative perspective quite interesting, it's a bit on the unusual side, but very interesting and mysterious. ( )
1 vote rastamandj | Jun 14, 2017 |
plot is pretty much gone. Character stays. Location. Action-yes, but why? mood?

yes, mood. ( )
  kerns222 | Aug 24, 2016 |
Excellent book by the author Haruki Murakami. ( )
  ctsuhako | Jun 8, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 158 (next | show all)
Många kommer nog att störa sig på den för att den är osammanhängande och saknar ett riktigt slut. Själv gillar jag den just därför, även om det finns en del annat att klaga på.

Murakamis romaner brukar alltid bli mer än summan av sina olika, ofta rätt banala beståndsdelar. Innan natten faller är dock ett undantag som inte blir mer än en, låt vara tidvis rätt så underhållande, smått förvirrad färd från mörker till ljus. Den är helt enkelt inte så bra.
Det är en stil flytande mellan genrer och upplevelser som Murakami driver sina underliga och vackra världar med, som smälter ihop myter och andeväsen med socialrealistiska plågor som kvinnohat, maffiahot, barnsexhandel och korruption.
added by Jannes | editDagens nyheter, Ulrika Milles (Mar 26, 2012)
"A bittersweet novel that will satisfy the most demanding literary taste... It reminds us [that] while we sleep, the world out there is moving in mysterious and unpredictable ways."
added by GYKM | editSan Francisco Chronicle
"Potent and disturbing... He reminds us that the essence of horror in the post-modern narrative is not some gothic extravagance, but the realities that await us outside our doorstep."
added by GYKM | editBoston Globe

» Add other authors (25 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Haruki Murakamiprimary authorall editionscalculated
Gross, AlexCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rubin, JayTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Eyes mark the shape of the city.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Har stadig denne til gode - glæder mig meget:-)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0307278735, Paperback)

A sleek, gripping novel of encounters set in Tokyo during the spooky hours between midnight and dawn, by an internationally renowned literary phenomenon.

Murakami's trademark humor, psychological insight, and grasp of spirit and morality are here distilled with an extraordinary, harmonious mastery. Combining the pyrotechnical genius that made Kafka on the Shore and The Wind-up Bird Chronicle international bestsellers, with a surprising infusion of heart, Murakami has produced one of his most enchanting fictions yet.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:22:58 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

Set in Tokyo during the witching hours between midnight and dawn, the novel features 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.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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