Book Review / Classic Novels / Love Story

After Dark

Book: After Dark

Author: Haruki Murakami

Publication: RHUK (5 June 2008)

Pages: 208

Price: Click the link

Review Rate: 5

Introduction:

Norwegian Wood cannot provide me with the satisfaction that I expect from Haruki Murakami (born in on1949, Kyoto, Japan). I feel desperate to taste more of his intoxicating language. So, I grab After Dark. Murakami always places a puzzle of emotional crisscross before me. A tangible mystery keeps overshadowing me as I move along the spell of Murakami’s novel. In a way, it is like fathomless music wafting from a faraway country.

After Dark Haruki Murakami Book Review
After Dark by Haruki Murakami Book Review

As I proceed through the whirlpool of darkness in After Dark, I meet Mary, engrossed in the pages of a book, “She reads with great concentration. Her eyes rarely move from the pages of her book- a thick hardback. A bookstore wrapper hides the title from us. Judging from her intent expression, the book might contain challenging subject matter. Far from skimming, she seems to be biting off and chewing it one line at a time.” And I identify myself with her and start reading my story.

Structure:

 Clock, i.e., time, segregates the chapters and aligns the incidents. Scene shifts from Mari Asai, the younger sister to the elder Eri Asai. One is awake while the other is in sleep.

Characters:

Mari Asai, a student cum bookworm of 19 years is studying Chinese philosophy.

Eri Asai, the elder sister of Mary with immaculate beauty, is regulated by World’s view. She is in deep slumber for months. In her state of somnolence, she recognizes herself as a lump of flesh, a commercial asset.

Tetsuya Takahashi is a trombone player and law student. He is a very easy go-round, frank yet philosophic guy.

Kaoht is a good-humoured, kind-hearted retired female wrestler. She works as a manager in the love hotel ” Alphaville”. She is honest, upright and friendly.

Panorama of society:

It is Murakami and only he who can create a profound panorama of society and the inhabitants living there from a different perspective – a broader perspective like an eagle’ view. The city appears as a gigantic creature with intertwining organisms, countless arteries stretched to its elusive body. And what he does to me is to force me to think…think in some way through the kaleidoscope of his characters and plots.  Therefore, here it is the characters I’m deeply involved with, with Mari, with Takahashi.

The Plot :

The story unfolds on a busy night in Tokyo. We meet nine years old Mari Asai. Mari is introspective and introverted in her way and Takahashi is just the opposite with all his long stories and garrulous funny speeches.  But at the bottom, he is a person with a philosophic mindset and versatile perception.

His observations regarding the crime criminal and judiciary system are thought-provoking and demand a wide applaud.

“…there was no such thing as a wall separating their world from mine. Or if there was such a wall it was probably a flimsy one made paper mache.” It is like a giant Octopus with long undulating legs.

The novel unfurls different themes, love, alienation, prostitution, engulfing holes of the law and order system, crime and helplessness, and above all the deep sacred bonding of two sisters. Eri and Mari though segregated by the polarization of their world carries the same tune of unconditional love. Eri is plunged into deep somnolence for two months and Mary is hesitant to disturb the spell. But finally, she cannot bear it and goes to her sister…kiss her and wraps her in sleep.

The Spell:

The novel casts a spell, a spell of light and darkness or the shadowy middle-ground, an understanding of which is very vital and valuable for existence.  He can portray the helplessness of the human heart in comparison to the voltage drop of the electricity supply. Through his vivid portrayal, the puffed cigarette turns it into a perfectly formed column of ash in the ashtray. In his pen night, memories crawled, chilly shadows remain sandwiched between tall buildings. ‘Crescent moon takes the form of a silent white monolith,’ ‘the new sun pours new light’. Even the trivial themes of life don’t escape the ink of the author- flocking of crows, scavenging for food, a golf practice net, sound of metal from the kitchen, all are described vividly at the inauguration of a brand new day. In his novel, people come and go with purpose and no purpose, with the desperate attempt to hold the time or to lose it.

Alvina’s Verdict:

After Dark leaves no darkness in my mind. It has no depressing tone like Norwegian Wood. One can feel sad at Eri’s fate but also can burst into laughter at Takahashi’s talkative reflections. He is a guy fond of Erich Segal’s Love Story and promises to write a long love letter to Mari when she will not be in Tokyo, leaving for Beijing. Again Mari’s too much cautiousness regarding foods, ‘politically correct and scrumptious omelettes, as Takahashi describes, adds to my humour. The ending brings light and hope after the darkness.

“Eri’s small mouth does move slightly, as if in response to something.  A quick trembling of the lips that lasts but an instant, perhaps a tenth of a second”- a positive signal… “The night has begun to open up at last. There will be time until the next darkness arrives.”

 

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Author

munu.ruku2020@gmail.com
Hi, I'm Munmun here and welcome to my book review blog. I'm an English Teacher. But more than that I love to read books and write down my thoughts. I feel we can change the world by circulating the introspections of great columnists throughout the world. You are free to contact me at munu.ruku2020@gmail.com.

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