This magical realism story is an intimate narrative that follows the interwoven storylines between a number of disparate characters: Mari, a young student determined to spend the night away from home; Eri, her sister, a fashion model who's been slumbering inexplicably for the last two months; Takahashi, a jazz trombonist who stumbles upon Mari and recognizes her; Kaoru, the manager of a "love hotel" and her staff; a Chinese prostitute brutalized by a customer; Shirakawa, the businessman who beat up the hooker. After Dark explores how these men and women are all related, with everything occurring during the span of a single Tokyo night.
In this flawless translation, Haruki Murakami's impeccable, evocative prose expounds on the different states of loneliness.
The dialogues, even when they appear innocuous, show a lot of insight, while the deep and more thoughtful conversations are a delight.
Still, it's the atmosphere created by the author which makes After Dark a special read. The ambience is sublime, as if the night became a character in its own right. The darkness becomes a time of revelations, a period of transition in the lives of the cast.
As a short, sleek book, After Dark is perfect for the beach, the plane, or the train. Bring this one along with you on vacation and you won't be disappointed!
The final verdict: 7.5/10