This basically follows the story of five characters — a 19-year old girl named Mari, Takahashi a jazz musician, Mari’s sister Eri who is in a very deep sleep, a Chinese prostitute assaulted in a “love hotel”, and a salary man, Shirakawa, who works late to avoid his family — one autumn night in Tokyo.
How Murakami-san managed to capture the happenings and feelings of time from midnight to dawn at a brisk but natural pace is amazing. Every beginning of a chapter shows a clock and as the night progresses, the story does, too. I didn’t particularly like any of the characters but I also didn’t hate any of them. But the point is probably not to like or hate them, but to connect to them which I think Murakami-san effectively did.
This is not as bizarre as his other works but neither it is a straight narrative. It stays surreal because Murakami-san doesn’t bother with explanations and in his world, nothing is simple.
After Dark ended far too quickly for me and as usual, I was left with too many unanswered questions. I would recommend you read this in a coffee shop, overnight, with cups of brewed coffee. And maybe some music, too. Well, if you haven’t yet! 😉
Quotable Quotes :
“In this world, there are things you can only do alone, and things you can only do with somebody else. It’s important to combine the two in just the right amount.”
“What seems like a reasonable distance to one person may feel too far to somebody else.”
“A brand-new day is beginning. It could be a day like all the others, or it could be a day remarkable enough in many ways to remain in the memory. In either case, for now, for most people, it is a blank sheet of paper.”
“…people’s memories are maybe the fuel they burn to stay alive. Whether those memories have any actual importance or not, it doesn’t matter as far as the maintenance of life is concerned. They’re all just fuel.”
“The silence is so deep it hurts our ears.”
Rating : 4/5 stars