A blog on reading, writing and life

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Murakami's "After Dark"

So this is the third Murakami book I've read. I loved Kafka on the Shore, but this one and After the Quake were kind of meh.

In After Dark we (the narrator) are watching a group of semi-connected characters out all night in a Tokyo entertainment district. The main character is a 19-year old student named Mari who is willfully avoiding home. After a chance encounter with a one-time date, she is forced out of her comfort zone and into a love hotel, where she has to translate for a Chinese prostitute who has been beat up by a john. The set up is pretty interesting. Like a typical Murakami novel, there are jazz references and philosophical conversations aplenty.

And also like a Murakami novel, the story quickly becomes surreal. We (the reader) become increasingly aware of the voyeuristic nature of "we" (the narrator), a disembodied being whose sight is bound like a movie camera. People's reflections are staying in the mirror after they leave the room. Mari's sleeping sister is transported to a room guarded by a man with no face. Ultimately, I didn't feel any resolution for any of these elements, which left me disappointed at the end of the book.

If anybody has any suggestions for a more satisfying Murakami novel, I'd love to hear them.

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