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After Dark Hardcover – 7 Jun 2007

3.7 out of 5 stars 87 customer reviews

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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: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (87 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 116,289 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

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 an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I read this book for the Popsugar Reading Challenge 2016. I’m doing the challenge in category order. This is my book for the ‘a book translated into English’ category.

After Dark is one of the best and most challenging books I’ve read in ages. I loved it. This is not my usual sort of book. At times it was like being trapped in some weird, disjoined and trippy dream; the kind of dreams where there are lots of shadows and things you can never quite see. I quite enjoyed being pulled along by Murakami’s amazing, vivid and descriptive writing. I’m not a fan of hard books and tend to get on better with books I can get through fairly quickly. This is the kind of book that reminds you of how good it feels to be completely absorbed in what an author has created between the pages (or between the back and front cover of my Kindle). I thought this was a wonderful, surprising book. I need to read more by this author.
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Format: Hardcover
I came to Murakami's work a little late - there's no excuse, really - but 'Kafka on the Shore' won me over. For better or worse, almost certainly the former, its enigmatic characters and calculated prose struck a chord in this reader. Plus, cats. It's a book I've recommended to many, and I'll continue to do so. It also started me on quite the trip, as over the next few years I travelled through Murakami's back catalogue, largely loving those fictional delights I found there. There were a few hiccups, of course - although some of the author's short stories are unqualified successes, the vast majority of them simply didn't have the length to exude the sense of depth that is perhaps the greatest draw of Murakami's work. But overall, it would be difficult to argue that we are witnessing anything less than the development of one of our era's greatest literary minds.

Sadly, I can't proclaim that 'After Dark' continues this evolution. Murakami's premise is an uncharacteristically simple one, which certainly contributes to the brevity of the text - but this is not a novel you want to go on for any longer than it does. The notion of the night as a character is tired as is, and regardless of the length of 'After Dark', it is a premise stretched far beyond its means. We have much to be grateful to longtime translator Jay Rubin for, but his work this time around is particularly literal, and to the reader's detriment. Add to this Murakami's jarringly self-conscious use of certain narrative devices, an overwhelmingly uninteresting cast of characters, stilted dialogue, I could go on.
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