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After Dark [Hardcover]

Haruki Murakami
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)

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Book Description

7 Jun 2007

The midnight hour approaches in an almost empty all-night diner. Mari sips her coffee and glances up from a book as a young man, a musician, intrudes on her solitude. Both have missed the last train home. The musician has plans to rehearse with his jazz band all night, Mari is equally unconcerned and content to read, smoke and drink coffee until dawn. They realise they've been acquainted through Eri, Mari's beautiful sister. The musician soon leaves with a promise to return before dawn. Shortly afterwards Mari will be interrupted a second time by a girl from the Alphaville Hotel; a Chinese prostitute has been hurt by a client, the girl has heard Mari speaks fluent Chinese and requests her help.

Meanwhile Eri is at home and sleeps a deep, heavy sleep that is 'too perfect, too pure' to be normal; pulse and respiration at the lowest required level. She has been in this soporfic state for two months; Eri has become the classic myth - a sleeping beauty. But tonight as the digital clock displays 00:00 a faint electrical crackle is perceptible, a hint of life flickers across the TV screen, though the television's plug has been pulled.

Murakami, acclaimed master of the surreal, returns with a stunning new novel, where the familiar can become unfamiliar after midnight, even to those that thrive in small hours. With After Dark we journey beyond the twilight. Strange nocturnal happenings, or a trick of the night?



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: 13.6 x 21.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 369,995 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"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)

Review

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

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
56 of 63 people found the following review helpful
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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Definitely an Interesting Read....... 21 Aug 2011
Format:Paperback
Have you ever sat one day, on your own, and wondered...."Is someone else, somwhere far, miles away, across the world, doing the same as me?" or "I wonder what someone 3000 miles away, who I don't know, is doing at this very moment in time"?

Well...I have on many occaisions...and while I will never actually know the answer, "After Dark" by Haruki Murakami gave me at least one potential answer to my question.

Murakami describes in very much detail about the goings on in Tokyo, after the last train has gone, by focussing on one central character, Mari Esai, and her journey throughout the night as she encounters some bizarre situations and even more bizarre people!

The plot also focusses on several other protagonists, giving very much depth to this story, whereby not just Mari's nightlife is documented, but also that of an office worker, a love hotel manager, a prostitute, and also a young chicken salad-loving musician.

Not being one myself to stay up all night, either at home or in an all-night cafe in a big city, this story gave a definitely interesting insight into what the other side of the night, for those who stay awake, entails...........
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
This is a nice and easy Murakami book to read which has all the normal components of his writing but crammed in to an easy story to read. Kafka on the Shore and the Wind UP Bird are both really long, rambling books - brilliant, but you need to be a keen reader if one of those is going to be your first taste of Murakami. After Dark is a perfect introduction to his books though, so give it a go!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For certain kinds of people 6 Jun 2011
Format:Hardcover
Having spoken to other fans of Murakami, I've gained the impression that many readers see this as one of Murakami's less engaging books, chiefly because, according to these readers, it lacks a plot. I've also encountered the comment that Murakami's decision to write in the third rather than first person prevents the book from having quite the same personal dimension as his other books, especially when these other books exhibit common motifs - namely the middle-aged cynical man whose ordinary existence of interrupted by a seemingly random event - which do not seem to make an appearance in this book.

For me, however, this is Murakami's best work. The basic reason for this is that I feel that no other author or book by Murakami quite manages to capture the atmosphere and mood of staying up through the night in quite the same way. I say this as a university student who finds that they work best at night and who loves spending the long hours alone - apart from the sound of jazz - before finally having breakfast and watching the streets of my university city murmur to life before going to bed. Murakami captures the strangeness of the long night spent wide awake, he captures the events that happen at night that go unnoticed by people who, for one reason or another, have lives that, owing to their comparative ordinariness, do not force or allow them to stay up at night and read in a fast food place.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Enveloping reading
It takes you there, to the scene, it feels so real, that is some writing, unbeatable Murakami, after reading Tokyo Blues (before I went to work to Japan) this one does not... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Carlos
5.0 out of 5 stars Good
Again this author write very well and his descriptions of Japan are interesting and detailed. I would recommend any of his books.
Published 7 months ago by smilerbright
5.0 out of 5 stars Quck delivery, good condition
I have got the book quick, in good condition.

If you want to buy somrething from Murakami books here, buy this one.
Published 10 months ago by tatjana
5.0 out of 5 stars After dark - a short but fascinating novel
There are no happy endings in this short novel. it left me with so many questions but, in my eyes, that's the beauty of it. Read more
Published 11 months ago by JuJuDollie
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable
An interesting and enjoyable read. Not as taxing as some of his other works. Something to transport your mind to another place for a bit.
Published 11 months ago by Alan
2.0 out of 5 stars Translation is terrible
It can't be Murakami's writing that is this bad, it has to be the dud translation. Judge for yourself. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Matt
5.0 out of 5 stars enigmatic dreams
It is hard to say why this is so captivating, but believe me it is. Focusing around the events of one night with a small group of linked but largely unrelated characters, After... Read more
Published on 17 Jan 2012 by markr
4.0 out of 5 stars Skilful prose and scrupulously crafted atmospheric scenes
After Dark is a novel set within a seven hour period, commencing a few minutes before the strike of midnight. Read more
Published on 19 Dec 2011 by David Briddock
3.0 out of 5 stars More like a screenplay than a novel
My second experiment with Murakami and although After Dark is a short book that is easy to read it is also rather slender fare. Read more
Published on 7 Dec 2011 by Philoctetes
3.0 out of 5 stars Not quite as good as his other works.
This doesn't reach the heights of Norwegian Wood (think I've started at the top and I'm working my way down at the moment) this just doesn't have the same sort of impact. Read more
Published on 3 Oct 2011 by Mike Andrew Dawson
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