From the opening of the novel “After Dark” Haruki Murakami’s , cinematic approach is worthy of a piece of the twilight franchise (the old twilight with the eerie music not the new one). He pieces his story together with a kinship to jazz musician Thelonoius Monk, stringing together notes that are unlikely to create harmony but somehow magically do.
Tokyo at night is the stage, when the lamps line the streets and all rational has closed its eyes on life for the day, supposedly, someone’s day begins. Individual s that stood out during a day, now melt into a soft palate of black and grey and become a collective within his pages.
In a less than kind downtown entertainment district, Murakami’s brand of realism takes us though a mental landmine. His characters don’t stroll like the words read from left to right in an organized manner; they just appear, leavening shards or details in their wake. “On her table is a coffee cup. And an ashtray. Next to the ashtray, a navy blue baseball cap with a Boston Red Sox ‘B.’ It might be a little too large for her head. A brown leather shoulder bag rests on the seat next to her. It bulges as if its contents had been thrown in on the spur of the moment. She reaches out at regular intervals and brings the coffee cup to her mouth, but she doesn’t appear to be enjoying the flavour. She drinks because she has a coffee cup in front of her: that is her role”.
The book sways back and forth between main characters Mari’s ramblings with her new-found friend Takahashi and the only character who hasn’t moved throughout the novel her sleeping-beauty sister Eri, who lies in bed, in a bear room, next to a worm hole of a TV screen where her image occasionally appears, and whose soul is being drawn from her. Murakami introduces interludes throughout the novel that seems to have no place and an oddity about them, without any foreseen logical explanation…maybe. Distracting readers or compelling them to continue to read.
Murakami has shown us a glimpse of a section of his mind. He captures how humans like to move in herds, while bits and pieces of their lives sheds like a snake without us noticing. He notes it. He notes it all. He shows us how life can sometimes stream out, non liner sometimes a mess, sometimes unexplained. This book is not for the weak, its twists and turns will have you reeling but well worth the ride. Through the conversations that take place between the characters you’re subjected to see the idiosyncrasies that make us all human.