This is the first book that introduced me to the works of the Japanese author, Haruki Murakami. For starters, After Dark will linger in your memories. In your mind. It has been 4 years that I read the book and the moods that were presented in the different chapters make me wonder about the way Murakami portrayed the night even today.
The book starts right before midnight where we find a young Mari smoking and sipping coffee while reading a book in a 24/7 restaurant. A little before dawn, she meets Takahashi, the trombonist. They exchange a minimal yet interesting conversation. Next, Kaoru, the manager of a “love hotel” where a Chinese prostituted gets mercilessly beaten by a customer. In the parallel time, Mari’s sister who has not woken up for the last two months is seen in her room. She’s sound asleep while the TV gets mysteriously switched on and she gets pulled inside where she is trapped with a masked man.
The few other such encounters along with Mari being the central character breaks into the morning.
“Each of those under transport is a human being with a different face and mind, and at the same time each is a nameless part of the collective entity … Handling this dualism of theirs skillfully and advantageously, they perform their morning rituals with deftness and precision: brushing teeth, shaving, tying neckties, applying lipstick.”
And this is how the city in the pages wake up to yet another day.
Murakami preserved a constant feel of eeriness and suggestive dualism throughout the entire journey of the book. The 1st person plural narrative was rather new to me. At times the narrator identified as “we” simultaneously giving the reader an idea of the different realms of the dark night.
Further when I looked up more about Murakami, I saw the first book cover and that literally spoke for the hallucinatory theme.
I do not usually obsess over book covers (do not consider the do not!)
But after reading the book, I was really impressed by this above design. I am sure whoever read the book would agree!
Overall, Murakami found a new fan who bought this book on a train journey and literally kept the journey far away from being a boring one.