Sunday, June 28, 2009

96 - After Dark; Haruki Murakami

After Dark, by Haruki Murakami (a new to me author) provided for me, what I would have to call a surreal reading experience.

Totally bizarre, but addictive, I listened to this audio book for the last 5 evenings, well into the night. The reader, Janet Song, was amazing, and did an excellent job describing what the reader was seeing as the story unfolded in what I would have to describe as a "book without a plot".

Curious....well the story starts out pretty much at a Denny's in Tokyo, and the entire story takes place in one night, beginning at just minutes before midnight. It is here at Dennys that we meet Mari Asi, an insomniac who seems to never sleep, and Takahashi a trombone player, and an old aquaintance. The two strike up a conversation about whether to order chicken at this restaurant. Mari seems to spend her nights at Denny's with a large book she carries around. Mari and Takahashi continue to meet at night and they become friends. It is through some profound conversations by the two, that we learn more about the other characters. There is Mari's sister Eri, who seems to do nothing but sleep as she suffers from some sort of social withdrawal, along with (2) other equally troubled souls, who have a story to tell: a prostitute and a software manager. Though the course of this story these people will find their lives intersecting.

This story is so different, so strange, yet so vivid, descriptive and haunting. I am really at a loss for what else to say about this unique book, except that although this is my first book by this author, it will not be my last. I plan to explore more books by this author, as I get the feeling I could be on to something new and pretty great with this author.

Although the audio book was excellent, in the future I plan to read the print version by this author if possible, as there were parts I would have wanted to reread and ponder (not so easy with a audio book). RECOMMENDED.

Has anyone else read Murakami? If so, what books do you recommend?

RATING - 4/5 - COMPLETED - 6/27/09
Where From (my stacks)


  1. I think your description suits the book perfectly : " different, so strange, yet so vivid, descriptive and haunting." I've had a hard time describing this book to friends after reading it, too! I read a few other works by Murakami and while it was less strange in the format, it was still really good.

  2. This sounds like a wonderful audio, but I'll get a copy of the book, too, just in case. Do you know Bellezza? She has read quite a bit of Murakami's fiction and sponsors the Japanese Lit challenges. She recommended After Dark as a good place to start...and hopefully I'll do just that very soon.

  3. I have read Kafka on the Shore, Norwegian Wood, and most of The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, all of which I would recommend. I want to read more Murakami soon, and I'll add this one to my list.

  4. I've been wanting to try this author for awhile now. I've heard such great things about his work (as well as not so great things). He seems like one of those authors I just have to experience for myself, you know? I am glad you enjoyed this one, Diane!

  5. One of my favorite books, After Dark. I promised myself I would read his others, especially Norwegian Wood and The Wind Up Bird Chronicles. I've only heard good things about his books! Glad you liked it!

  6. It sounds intriguing but I'm not sure I would like a story without a plot.

  7. never heard of this author before! Great blog, by the way.

  8. I'm a big Murakami fan, but haven't read After Dark yet. Wind up Bird Chronicle is supposed to be the best (I'm planning to read it soon) but my favourite so far has been Kafka on the Shore.

    I'm really pleased that you enjoyed Murakami and look forward to hearing your thoughts on his other books.

  9. I enjoyed reading After Dark so much. I have also read The Wind-up Bird Chronicle, Sputnik Sweetheart, and After the Quake and all are very good and typically Murakami surreal.
    I am hoping to read Norwegian Wood or Kafka on the Shore soon.

  10. Glad to hear you enjoyed this. I think this is a great place to begin with Murakami. Norwegian Wood might be a good one to read next. NW is one of his more "straight forward" stories. For a more magical realism experience, Kafka on the Shore.
    I've written reviews of After Dark and Kafka on the Shore and will link to your review from my post on After Dark.

    Hope to see you at Bellezza's Japanese Lit challenge at the end of the month!

  11. I've never heard of this author. Not sure if this is a book I would enjoy but I loved reading your description of it!!

  12. I tried to read The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle a few years ago after a long stint of hearing how brilliant this author was. It didn't really work for me, but I think it may have been the wrong book at the wrong time. I am interested to see if my second reading of Murakami might go a bit more smoothly. It is good to know that you liked this one, because I am still casting around looking for another Murakami read. I will keep this one in mind. Thanks!


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