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After Dark Hardcover – 7 Jun 2007

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Harvill Secker; First Edition edition (7 Jun. 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846550475
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846550478
  • Product Dimensions: 14.4 x 2.3 x 22.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (78 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 476,970 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"For sheer love of a thumping narrative, the novel delivers gloriously-Inventive, alluring" (David Mitchell Guardian)

"Wonderful-Magical and outlandish" (Daily Mail)

"Cool, fluent and addictive" (Daily Telegraph)

"Hypnotic, spellbinding" (The Times)

"A magnificently bewildering achievement-Brilliantly conceived, bold in its surreal scope, sexy and driven by a snappy plot-Exuberant storytelling" (Independent on Sunday)


`brilliant, moving, and partly surreal.'
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A. Ross TOP 500 REVIEWER on 18 Feb. 2008
Format: Hardcover
I read a fair amount of translated fiction, and Murakami is one of those writers I feel like I ought to like, but the few times I've tried, just haven't connected with. This latest novella seemed like another chance to check him out without a huge investment of time. The last book of his I read was his collection of short stories After the Quake, which were unified by common themes of alienation and loneliness. Those themes are dominant in this brief story as well.

Set in night-time Tokyo, the book often feels much more like a script for a moody film than it does a work of fiction. Many passages adopt a first-person omniscient voice, written in the style of a script, directing the camera and describing what it/we see. After a while this gets annoying, and made me wish that Murakami had just gone ahead and made a film if that's what he wanted to do. The storyline, such as it is, is arranged around the coincidental intersections of people, which calls to mind the structure of recent films such as (Short Cuts, Crash, Magnolia, Babel, Amores Perros, etc.) where we follow characters in and out of each others lives.

These characters include: Mari, a 19-year-old sitting in a diner reading the night away, Takahashi, a 20-something trombone player who recognizes her from high school, Karou, the ex-wrestler manager of a love hotel, a Chinese hooker who's badly beaten at the hotel, Korogi, a mysterious handyman at the hotel, Shirakawa, the nondescript but disturbed salaryman who beat the hooker, the hooker's mysterious motorcycle-riding boss, and finally Mari's model sister Eri, who is stuck in some kind of prolonged Sleeping Beauty-like slumber. The final character is Tokyo itself, which like these nocturnal people, is still awake but somewhat surreal.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Cletus on 21 Feb. 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Like many other reviewers here I have read all of the English translations of Murakami's work. I am slightly surprised by the mixed/negative reviews here. At the same time I am a bit disappointed that we all haven't shared the same experience, because I loved this book. I think it is among his best work, and I think that it is a must-read for anyone looking to start on Murakami's literature. I lived in Tokyo and know Shinjuku quite well, so the description of the area is very evocative to me (you may already know that the look of Blade Runner is modeled on Shinjuku). Apart from that, I thought the dialog was nearly perfect, and that the expression of Japanese youth was very subtle but precise. Not to mention the sort-of love story and the sort-of love between the sisters. Both of these are very realistic and moving. Maybe my views are the exception here, but since the book is a short 200 pages, you don't have to invest too much time to decide for yourself.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Alison TOP 500 REVIEWER on 20 Dec. 2009
Format: Paperback
I've only read one other book by Murakami (shame on me?!) and that was The Wind-up Bird Chronicle (possibly the most bizarre book I have ever read, but one that I can still vividly remember over 10 years after reading it). I felt a lot of similarity between After Dark and Wind Up Bird: surreal scenes, strange events and Murakami's unusual approach to writing. After Dark provokes you to ponder the deeper meaning of the events, although I'm not sure I really did get to full understanding!

I really enjoyed the beautiful prose in the book, it does feel rather magical and Murakami has this way of drawing you right into the book. However, I couldn't help feeling disappointed with the story by the time I'd finished it. There wasn't really much of an outcome - or at least not a climax of an ending. It did feel a little pointless by the time I finished although I admired the penmanship greatly. I'm definitely going to look up his most popular books because even with such a strange story, the writing is wonderful.
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57 of 65 people found the following review helpful By Sam J. Ruddock on 3 Jun. 2007
Format: Hardcover
"It's not as if our lives are divided simply into light and dark. There's a shadowy middle ground. Recognising and understanding the shadows is what a healthy intelligence does. And to acquire a healthy intelligence takes a certain amount of time and effort."

2007 has been a good year for short novels. Ian McEwen returned to form with `On Chesil Beach,' his best work for years and I was desperately excited to get my hands on the long awaited return of Haruki Murakami with his latest novel, `After Dark'. After all, Murakami, like McEwan is one of the leading short story writers in the world and `Sputnik Sweetheart' remains his finest work to date.

The first thing to say is that this is a very short novel. At just 201 pages it took me barely 4 hours and I am not a fast reader. Some may say this is not value for money but does quantity really equal quality? This, like everything Murakami writes, is worth every penny you spend on it.

The story is that of Tokyo after darkness, when the sun goes down and the lights go on. It is the perfect setting for a Murakami novel: jazz records play leisurely in the background of late night bars, the streets are deserted and his usual ensemble of well meaning loaners in search of themselves have deep, revelatory conversations which unwind slowly over a cup of coffee and a cigarette. `After Dark' is like the distilled essence of everything Murakami has ever written.

Mari, a nineteen year old girl, is sitting alone in a coffee bar reading a thick novel and waiting for the night to pass. Takahashi is savouring his bands last all-night rehearsal and has stopped in for some coffee. It is almost midnight. Back at home, Eri Asai (Mari's sister) has been asleep for two months, a sleeping beauty.
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