Airiz C's Reviews > After Dark

After Dark by Haruki Murakami
Rate this book
Clear rating

's review
Aug 04, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: dark-humor, drama, lgbtq, inspirational, paranormal, young-adult, surreal, reread
Read 3 times. Last read August 5, 2011.

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 After Dark, although here the elements of dreams dominate a larger chunk of the novel compared to that of reality. Basically it’s a story that happened in Tokyo at night, in a seven-hour span. In this limited time, all of the characters somehow intersected each other’s lives even for a few moments. The characters are not as off-the-wall as the ones Murakami created in The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle or Kafka on the Shore: a nineteen-year-old girl finding refuge in family restaurants in attempts to escape her life at home, a saxophone player who wants to be a lawyer, a Chinese hooker beaten up in a love hotel, a strange businessman working in a software company, and a woman deliberately experiencing a pseudo-Sleeping Beauty state. The development of characters here are a bit substandard compared to his other books—some are even akin to two-dimensional caricatures.

Reiterating what I’ve said, the book’s feel is more dream-like than reality-like, and Murakami made it so that it is eerier by telling the story well from a semi-omniscient second person point of view. Sometimes the narration—with all the movements of the camera that we readers are supposedly “watching” from—is distracting. but most of the time I think it does achieve its goal.

As for the plot, nothing much happens, and more questions are provided at the end instead of more answers. For instance: what’s with the (somewhat creepy) running gag where characters unwittingly leave their reflections in the mirrors? How cold would the dish of revenge be served to the man who beat up the prostitute? What’s the connection between Eri Asai and Shirakawa? What’s with that incestuous kiss at the end that did not quite shake our lady in the enchanted coma? I can list more, but it’d bore you to no end. There are some (unintentionally?) funny moments and the end is bittersweet. It’s quite a delightful read, but I’d certainly be more pleased if there’s a sequel to answer the questions I laid out above.

This book has a great beauty to it, though, and it all comes down to Murakami’s atmospheric writing style. That gave the book the whole dream-like feel after all, and it's enough to fuel me to turn the pages. Just magnificent.

6 likes · flag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read After Dark.
Sign In »

Reading Progress

Finished Reading
Finished Reading
August 24, 2010 – Started Reading (Hardcover Edition)
August 31, 2010 – Finished Reading (Hardcover Edition)
May 15, 2011 – Shelved (Hardcover Edition)
May 15, 2011 – Shelved as: surreal (Hardcover Edition)
May 15, 2011 – Shelved as: my-favorites (Hardcover Edition)
August 4, 2011 – Shelved
August 4, 2011 – Shelved as: dark-humor
August 4, 2011 – Shelved as: drama
August 4, 2011 – Shelved as: lgbtq
August 4, 2011 – Shelved as: inspirational
August 4, 2011 – Shelved as: paranormal
August 4, 2011 – Shelved as: young-adult
August 4, 2011 – Shelved as: surreal
August 4, 2011 – Shelved as: reread
August 5, 2011 – Started Reading
August 5, 2011 – Finished Reading

No comments have been added yet.