Monday, December 08, 2008

After Dark - Haruki Murakami

After Dark is Haruki Murakami's much celebrated novel of the world. The story is broken down in small chapters of varying length. An added element of interest—and perhaps a post-modern reference—is the fact that the book has a 'real-time' timeline, beginning at the early hours of the night.

The book is truly an ensemble piece. Alienation, a recurring motif in the works of Murakami, is the central theme in this novel set in metropolitan Tokyo (though this is not explicitly stated) over the course of one night. Main characters include Mari, a 19-year-old student, who is spending the night reading in a Denny's. There she meets Takahashi, a trombone-playing student who loves Curtis Fuller's "Five Spot After Dark" song on Blues-ette; Takahashi knows Mari's sister Eri and insists that the group of them have hung out before. Meanwhile, Eri is being watched in her sleep by someone sinister. Eri also suffers from social withdrawal, a condition often referred to as hikikomori.

Mari crosses ways with a retired female wrestler, now working as a manager in a love hotel (whom Takahashi knows and referred to Mari), a Chinese prostitute who has been beaten and stripped of everything in this same love hotel, and a sadistic computer expert.

The story takes place in a world between reality and dream.

While reading the book, I thought some of the chapters didn't make sense. But no. As you go deeper with this book, you will sense something unusual - a feeling of surrealism, realizations and enlightenment. This is the most "modern" novel that I've ever read. I love the camera view point in some chapters of the book. Also, it presents that the world is a profound place and everything happens simultaneously. Such events don't choose an appropriate time - a spontaneous activity.

The surrealistic approach of this novel prevents me to skip chapters (I rarely do this thing though).

If you're utterly bored, grab this book. I recommend to read every words of this novel. It's only 244 pages and even if you're a slow reader, you'll finish this in less than 48 hours. You'll be immersed with this book once you started flipping from the first place. You'll end up craving for more of Murakami's work.

I want to read After Quake. Salamat Joie.

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