8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
For certain kinds of people,
This review is from: After Dark (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. I find that this book is at once a work of realism and a break with the standard novel - the former, because of Murakami's expert handling of the atmosphere of night, the latter, because this book does not seem to have a plot in the ordinary sense of the word, in that the main character does not noticeably overcome any personal challenges or change as a person during the course of the individual, and there are dilemmas and questions that are allowed to remain unaddressed. The narrative structure, whereby the chapters lack titles (again, unlike other Murakami books) but mark the time, was, for me, inseparable from the overall mood of the book.
I listened to the jazz artist Joanna Wang whilst reading this book, because I enjoy listening to jazz whilst up at night, and both the artist and the book are now bound together in my psyche.
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Initial post: 24 Feb 2014 07:12:37 GMT
Excellent review, eloquently written. You have persuaded me to buy the book. I wouldn't like to be the person living below/above/next to you with jazz playing all night, though!
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