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 different from 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.
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. Murakami's trademark humor, psychological insight, and grasp of spirit and morality are here distilled with extraordinary, harmonious mastery.
©2004 Haruki Murakami. ©2007 translated from the Japanese by Jay Rubin; (P)2007 Random House, Inc. Random House Audio, a division of Random House, Inc.
"Darkly entertaining" (Publishers Weekly)
"A seductive and gratifying intellectual and romantic adventure." (Kirkus Reviews)
"Disarmingly intimate, almost tactile...The narrative flows like a jazz ballad [in which] each character is unique in his or her loneliness, yet each possesses a capacity for momentary empathy that is both sweet and heartbreaking. Murakami's genius, on both large and small canvases, is to create worlds both utterly alien and disconcertingly familiar." (Booklist)
I'm a Haruki fan, enjoyed this because of the usual juxtaposition of the ordinary and the surreal, the wonderful use of language. BUT just when I felt that I was getting to know and love the characters, the book ended. It needs a sequel.
I love Murakami, but this book is larceny. It is 6 hours describing nothing. In fact, the book takes place in a 6 hour period. Dull characters, loose ends, DO NOT WASTE YOUR TIME AND MONEY.
Audiobooks are a big part of my life.
This short Murakami novel, which emphasizes eerie atmosphere over plot and character, isn't as engaging as, say, Kafka on the Shore. Sleep is a major theme here, and I did find myself dozing off at times. Still, there are some evocative scenes, and the narration fits the mood. Murakami fans won't want to skip this, but those new to the Japanese postmodernist may want to start elsewhere.
I found After Dark to be fascinating with a huge amount of detailed subtextual issues. The descriptions were detailed and there's also a mystery too of sorts (though we're let in on some of the details. Very psychological. And Murakami leaves the reader to work out for themselves some of the more pivotal things like Mari's not being able to sleep and Eri Asai only sleeping. And whether or not you think the mystery is resolved.
However the narrator sounds like a computer in Star Trek. While I was able to get past it to hear the book, and while her Japanese is excellent and I learned a lot about pronunciation of the names ("r" is like a soft "d"), her affect in English is very flat. Listen to the sample first to see if you can get past it.
Because I liked "The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle" and "Kafka on the Shore" so much, it's hard for me to get satisfied as much with his other stories available as audiobooks so far. And I am running out of Murakami's audiobooks. But I do appreciate that Murakami experiments with a different approach every time. In this story, you feel like you are walking with a movie camera to observe a sequence of scenes and characters during one evening (until morning). Because of this format, I wasn't upset that story did not resolve. Nice. Not great, but nice.
Putting books on the back burner.
Usually when I read anything by Haruki Murakami, I am instantly hook, but with "After Dark", I either wasn't paying attention to the story or I was doing something else. The base line of the story was weak. As I mentioned in my other reviews of other short stories from this author, his short stories just lacks. There were a few highlights in After Dark, but not memorable.
Stay away from Haruki Murakami shorts. Almost all of them has been a disappointment. He is an awesome novelist, but not a good comic artist. He can't seem to doodle on a napkin, but can paint a masterpiece on canvas.
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