After Dark
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After Dark

3.65 of 5 stars 3.65  ·  rating details  ·  44,708 ratings  ·  3,149 reviews
A short, sleek novel of encounters set in Tokyo during the witching hours between midnight and dawn, and every bit as gripping as Haruki Murakami’s masterworks The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle and Kafka on the Shore.

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...more
Hardcover, 191 pages
Published May 8th 2007 by Knopf (first published 2004)
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8th out of 17 books — 464 voters

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Community Reviews

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Jul 18, 2007 Daniel rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: people who like thinking about feelings.
Murakami is not a great author for passive readers. If your main interest in fiction is plot and story, and especially if you tend to be the sort of reader who plows straight through a book and then thinks about it only after you're done, "After Dark" is going to be unsatisfying.

To me, Murakami is a great author for teaching you how to read (forgive me) proactively. He works a lot with impressions and mood, so that it's most rewarding when the reader stops after every few sentences and chews on...more
Good ol' Murakami.
Every time I read him, I feel my reasons for choosing a book as company over a real person, legitimized again.
What is reading, but, a singular form of one-sided communication? An author sends us an encoded message, crafted with precision and a deep empathy arising out of their understanding of the world and humanity at large. And we, in turn, decode it and instantly feel a pull on the invisible umbilical cord linking us to this person we have never met and, possibly, will nev...more
Stephen M
"Eye's mark the shape of the city"

There is something about Murakami that ignites connections in my brain that I don't know what to do with. Such as the scene with the man on a television screen staring into a real room with a girl lying on the bed. He is said to be looking in from the "other side". Murakami uses this same phrase when a main character is looking into a mirror. When she gazes at herself in the mirror she is said to be looking in from the "other side". There are several scenes whic...more
Ian Paganus
Original Review: March 8, 2011

A Midwinter Night's Tale

"After Dark" is probably the easiest Murakami novel to read.
At 201 pages, it's not difficult to finish in one session.
It's also close to what you would call "high concept" in the film industry.
Its execution is not much more than its conception.
All of the action takes place from 11:56pm to 6:52am on a midwinter night, more or less "after dark" when the days are shortest and the nights are longest.

Hidden Meaning

Murakami's writing is stripped ba...more
Jason Pettus
(My full review of this book is larger than GoodReads' word-count limitations. Find it at the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography [].)

"You know what I think?" she says. "That 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. Advertising fillers in the newspaper, philosophy books, dirty pictures in a magazine, a bun...more
Saman Kashi
مرد: به نظرت می‌توانیم به زودی باز همدیگر را ببینیم؟
زن: منظورت این است که قرار بگذاریم؟
مرد: می‌شود این جوری هم گفت
زن: اما چند بار بهم گفته‌اند که شخصیت تاریکی دارم
مرد: این جور نیست که زندگی‌مان فقط به تاریکی و روشنایی تقسیم شده باشد. یک منطقه‌ی میانی سایه‌دار هم هست. کار عقل سالم تشخیص و فهم این سایه‌هاست. کسب عقل سالم هم قدری زمان و جد و جهد می‌طلبد
زن: ولی چرا باید به من علاقه‌مند باشی؟
مرد: سئوال خوبی است. در حال حاضر خودم هم جوابش را نمی‌دانم. اما شاید – فقط شاید – اگر با هم باشیم و حرف بزنیم،...more
Bob Lopez
I didn't like the book very much. It read like something he tossed off, like it was a book between books, like a book to satisfy a contractual obligation: the literary equivalent of a B-sides collection, or maybe a greatest hits collection, only not very good.

There wasn't anything very compelling about the characters. They were wooden, and not very fleshed out, like vaguely romanticized caricatures.

The narrative suffered--I'm guessing--because of the translation; there were details here and ther...more
Murakami haunts me. His words. The images he uses to convey his message. His characters.

Blended together, these elements make for a surreal reading experience that is both fantastic and illusory. On one page you have a straight forward narrative of life during the wee hours of the night in Japan. But on the other page, a journey is taking place. Where this journey will end is anyone's guess. From a sleeping sister to a brothel to a kid that plays in a jazz band to a woman searching for her rela...more
As I Murakami fanatic, I feel justified in saying, Eh. I suppose he's the master of fashioning a career resting on two or three great novels (Kafka... Windup...) and then keeping his name in the news by producing plenty of light as air oughtta-be-short stories padded so thick with fat margins and linespaces that make your eyes vibrate that they actually seem like 244 -page books, in fact are 244 pages for that matter. According to my calculations this is about 40 - 45,000 words. Call me bitter,...more
Just a comment:

Murakami’s "After Dark" is first and foremost a cinematic book.

The story takes place in Tokyo, but as Borges once said (to Gabriel Nachmias): "Athens, New York, London—all of them are the same, after dark". By the same token, we may say that After Dark is set during a single night in a post-industrial metropolis. One night is enough time for Murakami, probably because every night is the same in metropolis.

Although Borges is not explicitly mentioned in the book, Murakami makes Go...more
Shannon (Giraffe Days)
Ah me I love Murakami. This is only the fifth book of his I've read but they never disappoint. I started with The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, which I read when I lived in Japan. Seemed fitting. Followed up with A Wild Sheep Chase, Dance Dance Dance and Underground, a non-fiction book where he collected and told the stories of survivors from the Tokyo Subway gas attack. I have more on my shelf. I plan to read every single book of his.

After Dark is definitely one of his more approachable books. It was...more
What a weird, beguiling little book. You just sort of float around while this Altman-esque point of view shifts back and forth between a little ensemble of strange, endeeringly damaged people. Murakami's narration is what really makes this work so well, the voice he uses is almost mesmerizing at times. The whole thing is just suffused with this jazzy, hypnotic stlye that occasionally veers into something darker, something more primevally resonant. If William Gibson and David Lynch wrote a book t...more
After Dark is the first book by Haruki Murakami that I’ve read. I was warned by many that I would not enjoy it. But they’re all delusional and wrong.

After Dark isn’t a traditional novel. It isn’t a plot driven story and in fact, not much actually happens. After Dark takes place in Tokyo over a period of seven hours. It begins with Mari Asai, sitting and reading her book in a Denny’s in the middle of the night. An old acquaintance sees her and reacquaints himself. The boy, Takahashi, eats at Mari...more
I find myself thinking about Murakami's books long after I've read them. Murakami compares writing to jazz music and with his writing it is true. Just as I find myself humming memorable bits from songs like Take Five, I also come back again and again to passages of Murakami's novels and short stories. I don't always recognize the deeper meaning in his works right away, but like a piece of music his writing continues to work on me over time.

After Dark takes place in Tokyo between the "witching" h...more
K.D. Absolutely
Jul 11, 2010 K.D. Absolutely rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to K.D. by: Dra. Ranee
Shelves: fantasy
Thank you, Ranee for lending me this book during Meet-Up 1. Murakami still to disappoint. 4 stars!

Tokyo. Closed to midnight till early morning. 19-y/o Mari is reading a thick book in a Denny's (yes, that same breakfast resto chain in the US). Then comes the band member, Takahashi who happens to recognize her as his date in a swimming party several years ago. This is the opening scene of the book and I will not tell you the whole story as this is just a novelette (244 pages) that took me only a d...more
Review as of July 2011...second reading...

I first read Murakami's After Dark in the hot rush of unreasonable fandom. The novel's release coincided with my inhaling of Murakami's catalog. I'm not sure if reading most of his works consecutively served me well; I get the details and characters confused from storyline to storyline. And After Dark couldn't live up to my fanatical expectations. So, a couple years past the first reading, I decided to give After Dark another shot on a steamy vacation we...more
Murakami's metaphysical explorations seemed way more meaningful in Kafka on the Shore and Sputnik Sweetheart, my two personal favorites. This book is a lightweight, a mood reading and it flutters off into the wind (or with the coming of morning to end the night. Whatever).

You know, Murakami is pretty well loved and all, but when you try to pull a Marquez-like stunt at the end of a piffle of a book, it will probably fall flat on its face. Because One Hundred Years of Solitude is the king of "eve...more
I'm not sure what to say about this book. It's my 6th book by Murakami, the 1st being Kafka on the shore and still to this day being the best thing I've read. I mention it because this is a close second.

There seems to be things in life that need to be thought about, deeply. And Murakami has this way in some of his books to remind you of them. Remind you in such a way that you start thinking and can't stop (maybe even going into some existential tizzy if your like me). He never presumes to give...more
Ben Loory
very different from all the other murakami i've read; this is almost like a Robbe-Grillet book, or david lynch's Inland Empire (in a good way). it's funny because it's basically a crime novel with no resolution, intercut with a single tangentially-related dream sequence, but somehow it feels much weightier, i guess because it has such a strange and coherent mood.

murakami books always tend to boil down to one scene or image for me-- "on the ferris wheel," "down the well," etc.-- and i have a fee...more
A slight Murakami novella yet somehow carrying the same weight and punch of his longer works. Told in "real time" and occasionally offering camera movement instructions structurally it feels like an attempt to work outside of his usual structure and style and yet he still retains his ability to capture the sense of isolation that is inherent in his work. A few people move through the dark, coming in to contact with each other before moving off, affecting each others lives in a variety of ways wh...more
After Dark by Haruki Murakami reminded me of carefully-shuffled cards. Two decks representing two separate (yet ultimately and intimately related) stories are slowly merged, chapter by chapter, until they make one cohesive whole that is far more beautiful and evocative than either story would be if taken alone. Murakami is a master of this technique, and he is in fine form here.

Story one: It is midnight in downtown Tokyo. An introverted, bookish, somewhat cynical young woman drinks coffee and r...more
ما الذي يحدث حين ينتصف الليل على الأرض ، ما الذي يحدث حين يأوي الغالبية العظمى من البشر إلى أسرتهم و بيوتهم ، ماذا يحدث بالضبط حين لا نكون في وعينا الكامل ، أستطيع تخيل موركامي في ليلةٍ من تلك الليالي بعد هبوط الظلام و هو يذرع شوارع مدينته ينتظر انتصاف الليل ، ليرى تلك الكائنات التي تظهر في هذا الوقت تحديداً ، و التي لسبب ما تشبهنا إلى حدٍ كبير . ما بعد الظلام ، يكتب لنا موركامي بعينيّ كاميرا لا تُرى و بأسلوب روائي جديد ، بعض تلك الأحداث التي تحدث في الليل ، من مطاعم تخلو من روادها و يبقى بها ال...more
Benjamin Duffy
If it's possible to be disappointed by a four-star book, I was by After Dark. It was a riveting read: fast, vivid, visceral, quickly and completely drawing me into its world. The point of view, expanding, contracting, and squeezing through cracks like some sort of liquid camera, was especially compelling. I can't speak or read Japanese, so I can't say whether or not the translation here is accurate, but it's a damn fine piece of English writing either way.

Halfway through this book, I fully expec...more
Ah, Murakami, why couldn't you have tried harder? Couldn't you have completed this work? Or if it wasn't possible within the always-confining time-frame of 24 hours in the life of these characters, couldn't you have dropped that idea? The story's ending on a note of hope came off as forced, while the admiration for the sleeping beauty by her bookish younger sister was oddly (and not quite intentionally, I can only hope) incestuous. Meanwhile, the plot-line of the salary man who seeks to escape h...more
ugh. what a boring read: another "beautiful" but lost japanese girl + confused sister + dude on a motorcycle... all going nowhere a little slowly, which is the point, i suppose. i don't even care that my copy is signed by mr. murakami... the signature didn't make the book any more interesting.

i read somewhere murakami has just come out with a book of short stories about marathon running (he's a marathoner??) and what he thinks of whilst running. my guesses? jazz, records, smoking, cats, mysterio...more
Samir Rawas Sarayji
I didn't find this novella to ba as impressive as other works of Murakami. It uses much of the devices found in his previous books with the exception of focusing heavily in some chapters on playing with camera angles. What I'm referring to is those omniscient, first person plural (we), chapters where the camera literally zooms in and out of the scene to elaborate on the general and specific details - this technique did little to enhance the storytelling and, if anything, felt detracting from the...more
i have really enjoyed murakami books in the past, so i was quite looking forward to reading this one. after dark feels more like a long short story than a novel. you're never really told what's going on in a murakami book, and this story is no exception. but, if you are willing to go along for the ride, then it's a fun, quick read. it felt more like a friend was telling me about a movie they had written rather than it felt like i was reading a novel. hard to explain, but if you read this book, y...more
The little box above the review space says, "What did you think?" Oh...if only I knew. The book follows two sisters, Eri and Mari, through the nighttime hours of Tokyo. Eri is asleep, Mari is awake. It seemed, at times, like these two storylines were written by two different people. The sleeping girl...well, sleeps a lot. Like, the entire book. For part of the book, she is watched (real or imagined?) by a creepy man in a mask sitting on a chair on the other side of a TV screen. I'm sure this sym...more
Airiz C
I have been told before that dream logic and reality logic are separated by a blurry line, but you can distinguish them from each other the same way you can tell the difference between the atmospheres of dawn and dusk. It is Murakami’s trademark to eradicate the said line—that’s practically the common denominator of most of his novels, except maybe Norwegian Wood, which I’ll say is the only “normal” book by the author to any Murakami-experienced readers.

This patented style is also applied to Aft...more
(Originally posted here! )

It was the last week of 2012 before I realized that I had blog challenges for myself. While I have given up the 2012 Debut Author Challenge for naught, I remembered that my personal challenge to finally read a Haruki Murakami book once and for all still has hope. I happened to have a copy of After Dark ready, and because I was sick for a couple of days, I had all the time in the world to devour all 191 pages of it.

So how was my Murakami experience? The first and only wo...more
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the newest book club: the next book is "After Dark" by Haruki Murakami 16 36 Jul 07, 2012 02:11PM  
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Haruki Murakami (Japanese: 村上 春樹) is a popular contemporary Japanese writer and translator. His work has been described as 'easily accessible, yet profoundly complex'. He can be located on Facebook at:

Since childhood, Murakami has been heavily influenced by Western culture, particularly Western music and literature. He grew up reading a range of works by Am...more
More about Haruki Murakami...
Norwegian Wood Kafka on the Shore The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle 1Q84 (1Q84, #1-3) Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World

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“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.” 838 likes
“You know what I think?" she says. "That 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. Advertising fillers in the newspaper, philosophy books, dirty pictures in a magazine, a bundle of ten-thousand-yen bills: when you feed 'em to the fire, they're all just paper. The fire isn't thinking 'Oh, this is Kant,' or 'Oh, this is the Yomiuri evening edition,' or 'Nice tits,' while it burns. To the fire, they're nothing but scraps of paper. It's the exact same thing. Important memories, not-so-important memories, totally useless memories: there's no distinction--they're all just fuel.” 422 likes
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