Haruki Murakami is a well-established and popular writer. His books practically fill up an entire shelf at the bookshop and I’ve heard nothing but good things about him. It seemed a tragedy that I had not actually read any of his books. So, on one trip to the bookshop, I browsed his books and came away with ‘After Dark’.
The book centres around two sisters. One stays up all night, passing the time in a near-empty diner. The other lies in an unnatural slumber that has lasted for two months. Both stories are written separately and are very different in tone style.
Mari’s tale is very much a character piece. While there is some plot, it is very much exploring Mari as a person as well as those she meets on her night-time adventure. It’s very simple in what happens, but is powerful in how it looks at the world at night and its inhabitants. On the other hand, Eri’s story is very contained and is more allegorical, exploring the realm of sleep and taking on a more mystical persona.
‘After Dark’ is beautifully written. It reads as if you are there, but observing through a window – unnoticed and yet ever-present. It does take a little while to get used to, but once you do, you are transported into the book, into the lives that Murakami sets out so clearly. It is creepy, yet enchanting and I am really glad I picked it up.
I will definitely be trying more of Murakami’s books.
Rating: 4/5 stars