After Dark (英語) ペーパーバック – 2008/4/29
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The midnight hour approaches in an almost empty all-night diner. Mari sips her coffee and glances up from a book as a young man, a musician, intrudes on her solitude. Both have missed the last train home. The musician has plans to rehearse with his jazz band all night, Mari is equally unconcerned and content to read, smoke and drink coffee until dawn. They realise they've been acquainted through Eri, Mari's beautiful sister. The musician soon leaves with a promise to return before dawn. Shortly afterwards Mari will be interrupted a second time by a girl from the Alphaville Hotel; a Chinese prostitute has been hurt by a client, the girl has heard Mari speaks fluent Chinese and requests her help.
Meanwhile Eri is at home and sleeps a deep, heavy sleep that is 'too perfect, too pure' to be normal; pulse and respiration at the lowest required level. She has been in this soporfic state for two months; Eri has become the classic myth - a sleeping beauty. But tonight as the digital clock displays 00:00 a faint electrical crackle is perceptible, a hint of life flickers across the TV screen, though the television's plug has been pulled.
Murakami, acclaimed master of the surreal, returns with a stunning new novel, where the familiar can become unfamiliar after midnight, even to those that thrive in small hours. With After Dark we journey beyond the twilight. Strange nocturnal happenings, or a trick of the night?
"For sheer love of a thumping narrative, the novel delivers gloriously-Inventive, alluring" (David Mitchell Guardian)
"Wonderful-Magical and outlandish" (Daily Mail)
"Cool, fluent and addictive" (Daily Telegraph)
"Hypnotic, spellbinding" (The Times)
"A magnificently bewildering achievement-Brilliantly conceived, bold in its surreal scope, sexy and driven by a snappy plot-Exuberant storytelling" (Independent on Sunday)
"After Dark" is a contemplative exploration that didn’t necessarily provide the sense of déjà vu that I typically experience when traveling to a country that I’ve explored through some of its literature. In completing the book, I found that the sense of familiarity I experienced was not connected to any place visited, food eaten, or excursion taken; but through the introspection of the character and the observations of the story’s narrator. This was a good selection. Highly Recommended.
I enjoyed this book in ways that are hard to describe. It was a glimpse into parallel realities, and quantum possibilities.
Worlds seemed to drift together and then apart. We see consequences but not much action...or is it action and not much consequence? There is an atmosphere of suspense and continuos curiosity of what will happen next. A sense of "anything is possible" kept me in a state of anticipation yet I was not dissatisfied with the lack of action. I can't think of another book I've read that gives me such a sense of the transience of reality. We drift in and out of the story with the author.
The chapters are set by a drawing of a clock to denote passage of time. Within this demarcation memories and hopes span the past and future. At times the night seems eternal, it's world is one of possibilities that will come to fruition (or not) in the new day. As other reviewers noted the book itself seems short.
I enjoyed the description of the band's rehearsal. Yet another world glimpsed through words and description, described but not really penetrated.
I finished with the feeling that yes, I wanted more clarification of what was going on.......each character was developed just enough to have a sense of them but all of them were shrouded in mysteries. To reveal these pasts and futures would be a different book and this book concerned itself with a short period of time.
I must say that if this is not the best of Murikami then I am going to be reading some outstanding books.
Not everyone may like this style of writing but I'll try to give a description, probably not the greatest but this is not an ordinary writing style for those used to popular Western writing.
You are guided through the story as if you are a third party observer. You do not interact with those you are observing. This is not about the emotions of the reader, but about taking in the experiences of Mari, a 19 year old girl, in the dark hours of the night. She is out late because she can't sleep while her famous and beautiful, older sister sleeps and does not wake up.
The author speaks to the reader as if he were a director or a private tour guide in a museum. It is a mystery of a different type.
I hope that those testing this style will enjoy it.