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After Dark

3.70  ·  Rating details ·  100,677 ratings  ·  6,953 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 Murakamis masterworks The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle and Kafka on the Shore.

At its center are two sistersEri, a fashion model slumbering her way into oblivion, and Mari, a young student soon led from solitary reading at an anonymous Dennys
Hardcover, 191 pages
Published May 8th 2007 by Knopf Publishing Group (first published 2004)
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This question contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
A. de Daumier-Smith This book's main focus is to show the meddling world of night-regulars and day-regulars. Shirakawa, the prostitute, Alphaville hotel workers, the…moreThis book's main focus is to show the meddling world of night-regulars and day-regulars. Shirakawa, the prostitute, Alphaville hotel workers, the mafia, they all belong to the night, whereas Meri and Takahashi are just visitors. The night has a tendency to corrupt, hence Takahashi's moral problems, represented in the volume of fat in his milk.
My hunch is that the story of Eri is intentionally kept a mystery, to emphasise the non-comprehensibility of the metaphysical world, yet still hinting at the evil attributions of it.
Murakami gives you a God vision, which is pretty common in cinema, yet makes it a challenge to follow the script on paper.
Hope this helped.(less)

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Jul 17, 2007 rated it liked it
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
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
Sean Barrs The Ultra Vegan
This really isnt a novel to be rushed. This is a novel to be savoured and appreciated, and I think this quote here captures a large part of the book:

"She reads with great concentration. Her eyes rarely move from the pages of the book- a thick hardback. A bookstore wrapper hides the title from us. Judging from her intent expression, the book might contain challenging subject matter. Far from skimming, she seems to be biting off and chewing it one line at a time.

The words and the language seem
Ian "Marvin" Graye
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
Ahmad Sharabiani
(アフターダーク = Afutā Dāku = After Dark, Haruki Murakami
After Dark is a 2004 novel by Japanese author Haruki Murakami. Set in metropolitan Tokyo over the course of one night, characters include Mari Asai, a 19-year-old student, who is spending the night reading in a Denny's. There she meets Takahashi Tetsuya, a trombone-playing student who loves Curtis Fuller's "Five Spot After Dark" song on Blues-ette; Takahashi knows Mari's sister Eri, who he was once interested in, and insists that the group of
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
I wake up.

My room bathes in the light of the streetlamp. Im too tired to look around. I close my eyes again but soon feel in my heart that the darkness I so desire has fled. It hides under my bed, in the corners of the city and of my mind. It refuses to manifest itself in its most majestic and generous form, that of the great blanket that covers the waking world, that of the wide gate that allows passage to the land of dreams. The splashes of darkness only serve to irritate me in their small
Sep 04, 2017 rated it liked it
Clearly his efforts are becoming more and more of a nuisance--because you must read his entire body of work, you need to trudge through latter stuff, like this one, Verrrry Minor Murakami*.

The best thing? The open-endedness in some of the various hallucinations/tableaux. The most irritating? His one page-per American reference, and the halo to the Japanese master of All (Crap!) Things USA.

*newly discovered literature genre (c.a. 2016)
Jul 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Video review will be up Wednesday :)
Nov 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A delightful excursion into the mentality and rhythms of night in the city and the perspectives it gives to the meaning of our daytime lives. This 2007 novel contains the essence of Murikamis weird and wonderful ways in a pure and restrained form. We fly around observing a set of characters as with an invisible camera, neutral and unjudging. Time ticks down explicitly through the night though the pacing of life at night has a timeless quality. The characters actions are muted and reflective, ...more
Jr Bacdayan
Dec 08, 2014 rated it really liked it
Its true, though: time moves in its own special way in the middle of the night.

I read Murakamis After Dark exclusively at night time. Capricious as it might sound, I do believe that most of it I read after midnight. Darkness encroaching all around, only a dim desk lamp to illuminate my surroundings. Silence engulfing the atmosphere, sometimes unbearable, often intoxicating. A cup of coffee beside me, a platter of peanuts in front, I relished every moment of this novel. Why? I am captivated by
Steven Godin
Another night has passed by and the day is upon us, telling from the light it is still early morning and from our viewpoint we are looking down on a city, we start to float towards a neighbourhood and pick out a house at random. We are now in the back garden of the property where two cats roam and can hear the sound of birds singing in the trees, we move in the direction of a second story window where the curtains are still closed, we enter. The first thing we notice is a man sat up in bed who ...more
Oct 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: japan, kindle
"Is action merely the incidental product of thought, or is thought the consequential product of action?"

I'm merely three books old in the Murakami World and I find myself beguiled by the Murakamiesque surrealism. Admittedly, I've developed a taste for the way his stories unfold and come to an anomalous ending; After Dark is no exception to this.
The story actually transports you to those wee midnight "after dark" hours and captures all the activities going on during that period. It's like the
Bob Lopez
Jan 11, 2008 rated it it was ok
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
Jason Pettus
Jun 22, 2007 rated it it was amazing
(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
Feb 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
It's a clever little tale about night people, dreams (of all kinds), and subtle humor, mixed with grand and interesting detail in the style of so much horror fiction and a brooding (mostly) off-screen terror that lurks in the night.

Did I mention it's Japanese? Sure, it should be kinda obvious from such a big name like Murakami, but this is, after all, my first foray into his works. What can I say? I thought it was pretty damn great. I didn't have any expectations, so I just let myself flow with
May 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: literature
I have a strange relationship with Japan both of my daughters became fascinated with Japan as children and both learnt Japanese. Then one of them went to Japan as an exchange student and then both of them studied Japanese at university, the other one then going to study at Tokyo University for a year. Now both of them work at a Japanese travel agency . At the same time we also have had a Japanese exchange student stay with us well, more with my ex-wife. And so my Japanese daughters name is Eri ...more

Yeah, I had to drop this .25 stars mostly because Takahashi is the most ANNOYING character ever. But this reread I discovered SO many new things and came up with so many new theories. I talked about them all in my vlog for this that I will post ehre when its up because I'm way too tired to keep typing. still amazing, still loved it, but damn takahashi is obnoxious how did i not remember him?


Holy shit this was INCREDIBLE. Give me a few minutes to fully put my
Jul 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literary
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
Aug 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
Read this review while listening to Curtis Fullers Five Spot After Dark.

A dark room, illuminated minimally by a blue neon light outside the screen. We see the musicians silhouetted and playing with subdued movements, the brass of the horns shining faintly in the light of a blank TV screen of static.

It is late, near midnight, and we will come to know several acts played out before us before dawn.

There is a girl sleeping in a bed. We see that she is beautiful, but her sleep is troubled.

The camera
Apr 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Just a comment:

Murakamis "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, Londonall 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
Aug 23, 2015 rated it liked it
If you opened this book up at any page without first looking at its cover you would still know immediately who the author was. Haruki Murakami has such a distinctive style it could be no one else. This particular book is very short and in my opinion not the best he has written. I loved the way he evokes those dark hours between midnight and dawn but there is less than usual substance to the book and an awful lot of mystery which is never solved. I think I needed a few more chapters and a little ...more
Edward Lorn
Aug 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I always have such a difficult time reviewing translated books. I usually don't know who to give credit to as far as the writing is concerned. This time around, not only is the writing fantastic, but the story is unlike anything else I've ever read. Although the book has been translated into English by Jay Rubin, I don't feel like anything was lost in translation. I'm completely comfortable giving my first Murakami novel five stars for this reason.

First, let's discuss the style choice.
Apr 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A shorter book by Murakami which is why I may have enjoyed it more than some of his other tomes.
Mari is planning to spend the night in Tokyo reading a book and slowly drinking coffee. She becomes the pivot in the book around which the mundane is woven with the unusual.
She helps a Chinese prostitute, becomes friendly with the female staff of a love hotel, has deep and meaningful conversations and strikes up a friendship with a trombone playing student. Mari is avoiding her home as her sister Eri,
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
Jan 09, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: popular-culture, 2009
After Dark is the first book by Haruki Murakami that Ive read. I was warned by many that I would not enjoy it. But theyre all delusional and wrong.

After Dark isnt a traditional novel. It isnt 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 Dennys in the middle of the night. An old acquaintance sees her and reacquaints himself. The boy, Takahashi, eats at Maris
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
Feb 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
K.D. Absolutely
Apr 17, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  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
Nov 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: magical-realism
I think this book is great Murakami entrance test. It's short and bit simpler than his other works but in no way worse so if you like this one chances are you will love his more notable works.
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Murakami Haruki (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

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