アフターダーク (After Dark)
Author: 村上春樹 (Haruki Murakami) (2004)
jusco’s Rating: ★★
As the title suggests, the real-time events that occur in After Dark take place from just before midnight to dawn the following day. Several characters are introduced: Mari, a college student reading at a family restaurant; Eri, Mari’s sister who has fallen into an eternal sleep; Takahashi, an outgoing college student and trombone player; Kaoru, a manager of a love hotel called ‘Alphaville’, and so on. I understand how Haruki Murakami might have wanted to change his writing style, but his experimentation fails miserably here. Other than a few happenings, such as the beating up of a Chinese prostitute, the story is dreary, desolate and slow-paced. Once again Murakami plays with the real world and the dream world, thus forcing us to analyse and make the best out of our own understanding of the abstract and transcendent; but by the end, you’re left even more confused and dissatisfied. Even the dialogue felt superficial; the lack of deep, meaningful conversations caused a regretful emotional detachment with the characters. The only enjoyable aspect was his masterful descriptions of a still, heavy Tokyo city night. Unfortunately not much actually happens on this beautiful backdrop. A poor attempt by the acclaimed storyteller, and one of the rare Murakami books to skip.