After Dark: Book summary and reviews of After Dark by Haruki Murakami

After Dark

By Haruki Murakami

After Dark
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  • Published in USA  May 2007,
    208 pages.

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Book Summary

A short, sleek novel of encounters set in Tokyo during the witching hours between midnight and dawn. At its center are two sisters—Eri, a fashion model slumbering her way into oblivion, and Mari, a young student soon led from solitary reading at an anonymous Denny’s toward people whose lives are radically alien to her own: a jazz trombonist who claims they’ve met before, a burly female “love hotel” manager and her maid staff, and a Chinese prostitute savagely brutalized by a businessman. These “night people” are haunted by secrets and needs that draw them together more powerfully than the differing circumstances that might keep them apart, and it soon becomes clear that Eri’s slumber—mysteriously tied to the businessman plagued by the mark of his crime—will either restore or annihilate her.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"[P]robing, wonderfully improvisational dialogues...sustain the book until the ambiguous, mostly upbeat dénouement." - PW.

"Murakami's genius, on both large and small canvases, is to create worlds both utterly alien and disconcertingly familiar. - Booklist.

"A seductive and gratifying intellectual and romantic adventure" - Kirkus.

"After Dark is a short book, hypnotically eerie, full of noirish foreboding, sometimes even funny, but, most of all, it's one that keeps ratcheting up the suspense. At times, the novel recalls those unsettling films of Jean-Luc Godard or Michelangelo Antonioni where something dire seems always about to happen, even as attractive young people, full of anomie and confusion, meander aimlessly through an ominous urban landscape." - The Washington Post.

"It’s when his technique is inconspicuous and not when he's waving his wand above the hat that Murakami's spell is most persuasive. Moving outward from obscure Mari through her shifting circle of friends, Murakami takes in widening perimeters of a nocturnal urban habitat. We get a strong sense, though we’re not quite certain how, of the city’s fugitive social ecology, of the bargains and compacts among its tribes and classes. Women are prey for the most part and band together, particularly the poor and the unmarried. Men venture forth more boldly, lone marauders, though sometimes they leverage their power by forming gangs." - The New York Times.

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Author Information

Haruki Murakami Author Biography

Murakami was born in Kyoto in 1949 and graduated from the Waseda University, Tokyo, in 1975. He and his wife lived in Europe and the United States from 1986 to 1995 before returning to Tokyo. He did not write his first novel, Hear the Wind Sing (1979, translated 1987) until he was in his thirties. His major breakthrough came in 1987 with the publication of Norwegian Wood - a coming of age story named after the Beatles' song, which is somewhat different to his other books in that it is written in a realistic style, whereas his other books all ...

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