Townhouse Books

Saturday, June 30, 2007

After Dark: Haruki Murakami

"After Dark" concerns the late night musings, minglings, and wanderings of a handful of people, radiating out from a starting point of a Denny's in Tokyo. The story of Mari and a boy who knows her sister, the women she meets who work in a "love ho" (love hotel) and hints of their lives, the overlay of every scene with music, especially jazz, the delightful cadence that is distinctly Murakami (or at least Murakami translated, since that is only how we know him) -- these are all wonderful and successful building blocks of a fantastic and fantastical tale.

The additional story of Mari's sister who is trapped in a deep sleep and occasionally transported, still sleeping, into her television by a man with no face, is frustratingly incomplete. The slim novel should have been only short vignettes of Mari and her night adventurers, leaving her sister out entirely, or it should be have been three times the length to actually tell the sister's story.

It's Murakami -- I don't expect a neat, pat ending. But I do expect to get more than an excerpt of a better, more developed, yet nonexistent Murakami novel.

(I suspect I will continue to mull over this book; I already found myself dreaming about it during a nap today. I just finished it about 10 minutes ago though and wanted more -- hence the frustration you're reading in this review now. If you like Murakami, consider reading this. If you've been feeling over Murakami lately however, this isn't the book that will bring you back.)


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