Saturday, July 17, 2010

Haruki Murakami - After Dark

After I read Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami, I picked up Norwegian Wood by the same author. Norwegian Wood was a sad love story about a young frail girl Naoko, whose high school boyfriend commits suicide. She falls into deep depression after that and has problem fitting in with life. Her boyfriend's best friend, Toru, befriends her and falls in love with her. However, her depressed state prevents her from forming any relationship and she leaves for a mental asylum. Toru meets Midori and they are drawn to each other. But with the shadow of Naoko hanging over him, Toru is unable to move on. It is a good book but I was fresh from the magic realism of Kafka on the shore and the book was kind of depressing.

Last Saturday, I picked up After Dark by Murakami from the library along with other books. I saved After Dark for the last, wanting to savour it.  A couple of days ago, the other stock exhausted, I opened this book.
Eyes mark the shape of the city.
The first line read. And I knew I was hooked. It is a slim book, mere 200 pages of the small size.
The novel delivers gloriously... Inventive and alluring
says David Mitchell of Guardian, on the blurb. Ditto, say I.

The novel is about what happens to people after dark. In the few hours from midnight to 5 AM when the world sleeps peacefully, there are some who choose to stay awake. Why do they do that? What is behind their wish to spend the night waking?

Mari chooses to spend the night waking as she seems to have missed the last train home. She sits in Denny's with a cup of coffee and is hunched over her book, reading with deep concentration. She is disturbed by Takahashi, a trombone player who knows her and more particularly, her beautiful sister Eri. Takashahi is here because he plays with his band in a nearby basement and is at Denny's for a midnight snack. Later he sends over the manager of a Love Hotel called Alphaville. A Chinese girl has been hurt and they need someone who knows Chinese to talk to her. All this time, Mari's beautiful sister Eri sleeps a sleep that is too perfect to be true.

At the root of everything is the troubled relationship between the beautiful Eri and the homely Mari who chooses to drown herself in studies. Takashahi has a troubled past too. He is an orphan who has been brought up by his criminal father and a stepmother. He is at a crossroad, having to choose between a career in Law and Music. He is very fond of Five Spot After Dark which made him learn how to play a trombone.

It is a night full of happenings and conversations and introspection which will transform the lives of Mari and Takashahi, and Eri's too, perhaps.

Murkami's magic is all over the book. You hear the music the characters talk about, you feel what they feel. He has this ability of making you see right into the soul of people.


YOSEE said...

This book is going to be my next buy.
Thanks for the review.

avdi said...

Thanks Yosee. I am sure you will like it.

Vee said...

Kafka moved me like anything. So, for sure After Dark is worth trying.

I too fall in that category (midnight to

Meanwhile I finished 'Curfewed Night' by Basharat Peer. No one has captured our own Kashmir like him.

And now reading ur old recommendation...'Sea Of Poppies' ... ;)

avdi said...

Sea of Poppies was awesome, the best of Amitav without doubt. Let me see if I can find Curfewed Night in the library.

Aft dark will definately suit your mood.. i loved it precisely because the chars wander around all night.

Abhay Patel said...

Nice book. one of my friend have that book. I think it's really good one. Thank you for sharing.

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