I feel like I should qualify my rating for "After Dark."
I didn't give it 5 stars because I thought it was one of his best, or that it stacked up to "D...moreI feel like I should qualify my rating for "After Dark."
I didn't give it 5 stars because I thought it was one of his best, or that it stacked up to "Dance Dance Dance," being the first of Murakami's that I read and therefore receiving the gratifying exuberance of a first come first served rating.
I gave it five stars because I thought it did exactly what it needed to do in a way that was beautiful, stirring, and ultimately human.
Of course I would like answers to why the Chinese prostitute got beat up, what's really going on with the sister, and so on. But I don't need them.
What I found in "After Dark" is a story about a world that only exists between the hours of midnight and sun rise. The story lines, though on the whole meaningless, mostly unrelated, and not exactly the things that make great or even maybe interesting literature, are so very REAL. This could happen. In fact this probably happens a lot more than we realize. It carries a certain magical quality in its mundanity, a beguiling humanity that lingers like reflections in a mirror after the person has left the room.(less)
pg. 73: "She had never loved him, I thought, and as Father had not been rooted in any woman's heart, he could not merge with any reality and was there...morepg. 73: "She had never loved him, I thought, and as Father had not been rooted in any woman's heart, he could not merge with any reality and was therefore condemned to float eternally on the periphery of life, in half-real regions, on the margins of existence."
pg. 118: "As a matter of fact, there are many books. The Book is a myth in which we believe when we are young, but which we cease to take seriously as we get older."
pg. 203: "I cannot answer for my dreams."
pg. 207: "No one has ever charted the topography of a July night. It remains unrecorded in the geography of one's inner cosmos."
pg. 290: "I feel: this is life. Everyone is stuck within himself, within the day to which he wakes up, the hour which belongs to him, or the moment. . . . Time deceived by silence flows backward for a while, retreats, and in these uncounted moments night returns and swells the undulating fur of a cat."
pg. 319: "The spirit of nature was by its very essence a great storyteller. Out of its core the honeyed discourse of fables and novels, romances and epics, flowed in an irresistible stream. The whole atmosphere was absolutely stuffed full of stories. You only needed to lay a trap under this sky full of ghosts to catch one, set a wooden post upright in the wind for strips of narrative to be caught fluttering on its tip."
I'm not the sort of person who dog-ears books (I have been known to pen-mark the text, but dog-ear'ing was never my thing), but I couldn't help but put a few on the corners as I read this, where moments in the prose struck me as especially poignant (found all but one too!). I first read "Cinnamon Shops" back in my sophomore year of college, hurriedly, rather drinking in the text, hoping I could get to the end before they opened house, and then saw a very bizarre movement-heavy play based on Schulz's work. Fortunately, the story stuck with me better than the play (of which I only remember really weird scattered moments and was called something like "Republic of Dreams under the Sign of the Crocodile" or some such amalgamation), and the dreaminess of the text read in haste in the lobby of a rustic barn on a cold winter's night will always stick with me. Even more so than the old man in the white tutu shouting something unintelligible while standing on a wardrobe that was being pushed downstage.
It would be interesting to read this in the original Polish, because the translator did a really fabulous job at keeping the language beautiful, and I wonder what it would "sound" like in the original.(less)