This is the third book of Murakami that I have read and so I was a little aware of what to expect from this book. Not new to the way of how his books are, the unrealistic book After Dark is a story of the things that happen during the night when the world is asleep. I personally can’t decide if the story is perfect. As typical Murakami and his ways of writing, the book feels utterly incomplete and yet somewhat near to perfection.
The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle and Kafka on the Shore are both masterworks by Haruki Murakami, and After Dark is another short, stylish tale of events set in Tokyo during the witching hours between midnight and dawn. Every bit of the story is fascinating.
The story centres around many different characters- Eri- an epitome of beauty who has slumbered into a deep snooze for the past two months which is ‘too perfect, too pure’, Mari, her younger sister, a young student soon led from solitary reading at an anonymous Denny’s toward people whose lives are radically alien to her: a jazz trombonist who claims they’ve met before, a burly female “love hotel” manager and her maid staff, and a Chinese prostitute brutalized by a businessman—are at its centre.
These “night people” are haunted by secrets and emotions that tether them together more fiercely than the circumstances that would split them, and it eventually becomes explicit that Eri’s slumber—mysteriously connected to the businessman tormented by the mark of his crime—will either heal or destroy her. The book revolves around all these characters and their experiences during the struck of 00:00. The book ends with the wake of the sunrise and the untouched memories of midnight.
All of the stories, which are set in various patches, are unconnected in any way. The reader is befuddled by the mix of these personalities till the very end. Murakami’s typical wit, psychological insight, and comprehension of spirit and virtue are crystallized with remarkable, flawless perfection in this book.