Another brilliant novel by the master of the surreal in every day life. You could say that "After dark" is some kind of concept novel. The point of view is mainly the view of a camera, observing a city at night, zooming in one a few chosen characters centered around Mari, her sleeping sister Eri and Takahashi - a guy who used to be in the same class as Eri. The love hotel Alphaville also plays an important part this particular night. At one stage the author takes us to a room in a parallel reality that I don't find particularly satisfying, but having that surreal element is necessary to keep the reader engaged. My interpretation is that you enter some kind of dream.
The best thing about the book is that there's no real plot. It's just an observation from midnight to dawn. There are no conclusions or resolutions. But for young Mari it's a very eventful night which makes the book a coming of age story.
It's so beautifully written it makes me want to read it again. The dialogue between Mari and Takahashi is fantastic. Not much is said, but what is said makes it more important. It feels like you're inside Mari's world even if the author hasn't written what she feels and thinks. It's all conveyed through dialogue and atmosphere. In the course of the night a crime is committed, but it doesn't matter that we won't find out what happens after. It's enough to observe the involved characters and draw your own conclusions.