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After Dark (2004)

by Haruki Murakami

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
6,1632081,268 (3.61)228
During seven hours of a Tokyo night one sister sleeps, while the other, a student reading quietly in a Denny's until she is lead to night people who are radically different from her.
  1. 30
    The Elephant Vanishes: Stories 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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» See also 228 mentions

English (180)  German (5)  Dutch (4)  Swedish (3)  Spanish (3)  French (3)  Norwegian (2)  Italian (1)  Hebrew (1)  Japanese (1)  Catalan (1)  All languages (204)
Showing 1-5 of 180 (next | show all)
After dark, the city is a different woman. She sheds off her daytime attire, emerging uninhibited, transformed. For the dark hours court extremes. The night’s shadows hide the blackest 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 peoples 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 fathom themselves. ( )
  JosephCamilleri | Jan 1, 2022 |
I honestly don't get the ending. Overall it was a good imaginative plot, well thought of but the ending? I would have thought miraculously Eri awoken from her slumber by Mari but instead it left me hanging. Jeez...

Here's my full review:
http://www.sholee.net/2017/03/mpov-after-dark.html ( )
  Sholee | Sep 9, 2021 |
Takes place in the course of one night. I usually like books with no action and characters that just talk. This one started off good. I even laughed out loud when the 19-yo who was trying to read her book in a Dennys, but was now becoming more and more annoyed by this guy who recognized her as some hot girl’s little sister and then decided he could just plop down at her table and start talking about how her sister was a real beauty and what a cute girl she herself had been, asks him, “Is there something about your personality that makes you prefer the past tense?”

And then he was going on and on about how he always orders the chicken salad and crispy toast but they never, ever manage to make it crispy. Then he asks her a question about herself or her family or something and she’s like “Are you asking me to explain it to you here and now in twenty-five words or less while you eat your chicken salad?”

That made me laugh, too, but then it was all down hill after that. ( )
  Jinjer | Jul 19, 2021 |
Of course I liked this, it's Murakami, and he writes fabulously, even in translation. But it's probably my least favorite of all the ones of his I've read. Not very novel-like; more like an extended short story - it didn't feel to me like there was any resolution to a lot of things that happen, and it leaves a lot of questions unanswered about events that occur. So kind of unsatisfying. ( )
  JohnNienart | Jul 11, 2021 |
I picked this up from my local library after reserving it. To be honest it couldn't really have come at a better time because my mojo was fading a bit. I had started Last Exit to Brooklyn by Hubert Selby Jr but for some reason it I just wasn't feeling it so I decided to return it for another day. It would seem that Murakami just does it for some people and not others. I definitely sit in the 'does it' camp. I saw a review where the reviewer said that Murakami makes connection in his brain that no other author does and I think that sums up how I feel about his work pretty well.

Like his other books that I have read, his characters make me feel for them on a emotional level that few others do. His writing creates a very visual and magical world in my head. I find it quite difficult to put into words how this feels to me but I suspect that some people will know what I mean.

The story happens at night, a time when most people are in bed and as a consequence night time has its own feel and energy. Murakami portrays this very well, its a time when things go on that remain unseen to most and also when the oddest of people are drawn together in equally unusual ways. As important as the things which are described in minute detail are the things that go unexplained. For example, the whole situation with Mari and the way it is handled is very unusual and yet it works really well.

The only reason why I didn't give this a 5 is that I wanted it to last a little longer. At 201 pages it is a pretty short book, I feel that another 50 pages would have allowed some of the story to be tidied up into a more complete ending. The mystery of it all is part of its charm though I suppose. I have already reserved 2 more Murakami books and I cant wait to get stuck into them. ( )
  Brian. | Jun 19, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 180 (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 (17 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Murakami, Harukiprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gross, AlexCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Porta, LourdesTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rubin, JayTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Eyes mark the shape of the city.
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People's memories are maybe the fuel they burn to stay alive...if I didn't have that fuel, if I didn't have these memory drawers inside of me, I would've snapped a long time ago...It's because I can pull the memories out of the drawers when I have to - the important ones and the useless ones - that I can go on living this nightmare of a life. I might think I can't take it anymore, that I can't go on anymore but one way or another I get past that.
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During seven hours of a Tokyo night one sister sleeps, while the other, a student reading quietly in a Denny's until she is lead to night people who are radically different from her.

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Har stadig denne til gode - glæder mig meget:-)
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