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After Dark
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on 28 June 2017
I always have the same feeling anytime I finish off a Murakami's: seriously? Well written, that is out of the question; very promising at the beginning but all books finish without an end, before telling the story. He spends 300 pages preparing to tell you a promising story and out of the blue, the book is over and nothing has been told.
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on 1 March 2017
Murakami's books are quite complex and require some thought. I greatly enjoyed this book and its look into relationships.
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on 25 March 2011
I have read all of Murakami's novels and despite being a huge fan of his I have to admit that I was very unpleased with this book. It is well written, but the story is just plain silly! It doesn't go anywhere, nor it has any spark in it at any stage, just plain boring! For the first time reading Murakami I felt I was wasting my time!
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on 10 July 2015
This is the third book I have read by this author, I did not appreciate it-too much sadness and unfulfilling.
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on 25 July 2017
Surprised that this book seems to have the lowest ratings of any of Murakami's novels. It is certainly strange but then you have to accept the magical realism premise and plunge in. Despite coming from a Japanese city culture that is quite alien to UK readers it is surprisingly easy to read - which in my view says a lot about the quality of the writing. I liked the nocturnal strangeness, the love hotel and the two sisters experiences brought together by the gangly Takahashi.
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on 26 September 2017
It's wonderful when a book opens your eyes to other media. In this case an excellent jazz track. A weird twisting story (like most Murakami) I can't imagine it going down too well with newbies but for established fans it's comforting and satisfying
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on 16 November 2017
Read it before, forgot it, read it again, good one for the bookshelf!
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 20 December 2009
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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on 7 December 2011
My second experiment with Murakami and although After Dark is a short book that is easy to read it is also rather slender fare. The scenes with the comatose girl, in particular, are written as if with a view to becoming a movie. The whole book reads like a story designed to become a screenplay; when typically one complains about the over-simplification of movie adaptations of novels, this one could use another layer or two if it is ever transferred to the silver screen.

Having said that, the nocturnal perambulations of Mari, a loner who befriends the occupants of a 'love hotel' after a chance encounter with talkative young musician Takahashi, are engaging enough, and I was glad there was no repeat of the slightly fawning quality I thought I observed in Murakami's famous protagonist, Toru (Norwegian Wood).

Pretty good, then, but not one you're going to rave about while waiting for the morning bus.
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on 3 June 2007
"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. As we watch the strange events of the dense night unfold it is as if the night has been personified, and the people are just encroaching on its time. Revelation and transition is in the air, it is `After Dark' and the possibilities are endless.

The atmosphere lurks somewhere between awake and asleep, we feel the neon signs lighting up the darkness and smell the hazy smoke of insomnia in the gaps between the words. Murakami is incapable of writing a dull story and `After Dark' is no different. It may not be his best ever work, but once you pick this book up and feel the darkness enshroud you like a blanket you will not dare put it down until the morning has arrived and there is nothing to do but wait for night to return.
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