By Haruki Murakami
(Vintage, Paperback, 9780307278739, April 2008, 256pp.)
The Short of It:
The Rest of It:
I don’t spend a lot of late evenings out. But, I have been known to hit a late movie once in awhile and when I do, I am always amazed at how many people are out so late at night. It’s as if there is this whole other world from say, 11pm (late for me) to early morning. Well, After Dark is all about that. Mari is sitting alone in a Denny’s, reading her book when a young musician named Takahashi asks to sit at her table. Confused as to why a complete stranger would want to sit with her, he explains that they have met before and that he dated Mari’s sister, Eri. As the conversation continues, Mari learns that Takahashi’s band practices in a basement nearby, and that he sometimes visits Denny’s for a meal. He offers to hook-up with her again if she ever wants to, which she politely turns down.
Later that same evening, a woman by the name of Kaoru is sent to find Mari at the Denny’s, because she is in need of a Chinese interpreter. Turns out that there is a young prostitute that needs her help. Takahashi, wh0 sometimes works for Kaoru doing odd jobs around the “love hotel” remembered that Mari speaks both Japanese and Chinese and figured she’d be the perfect person to help out. As the evening plays out, Takahashi learns more about Mari and her sister Eri, who seems to have a severe sleeping problem and has been asleep for over two months straight.
What does any of this mean? Who knows? It’s the wondrous, dreamy world of a Murakami novel. There are moments of pure brilliance and moments where you aren’t quite sure what is going on, but never at any time are you bored. Out of all the Murakami novels I’ve read so far, this one probably had the least amount of action, but it left me with many questions. I caught myself thinking about these characters at odd times. Especially the sleeping sister. Was she depressed? Did she enter an alternate universe during slumber?
Needless to say, I was highly amused by this one and each time I read a Murakami novel I am left with this feeling that there is a greater something out there. I’m not talking spiritually here, but more other worldly. I think that is why I am endlessly fascinated by Murakami’s writing. If I could shrink him down and put him in my pocket, I would. That would be weird though.
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