After Dark

After Dark
Author: Haruki Murakami
Release Date: 2004 (Japan)/2007 (UK)

What of the people of the night? After Dark. What of the people of the day? Who cares about them in After Dark.

The story takes place from 11:56 p.m till 6:52 a.m. Time is spent between a handful of characters in Japan, closely knitted together from the events about to take place. Mari, the quiet girl in the Denny’s diner meets a part-time musician looking to talk. From there she is set up in helping out a Chinese prostitute, beaten from an angry customer. We see this angry customer at work in his office. Everything while seemingly random, slowly connects together, and that isn’t starting on the chapters dedicated to Mari’s sister Eri stuck in a deep slumber. A slow-moving nightmare creeps over as a man appears in the television watching. At first it appears distant and showing no link to the night of Mari, but soon everything ties up. We see how different the world of night is, how peaceful, how calm, but with that edge of danger always lingering.

The stories move through conversation and careful movement. By the end we don’t really get much closure, just that the sun comes up and another day begins. We see characters change, but not the sunshine led lives they lead. Maybe this is a problem, that we never see these things, but it never matters much at all. The way the characters interact and develop other the night is worthwhile enough, satisfying and thought-provoking. Everyone is different and everyone connects over a single night. A magnificent fiction I wish could be played out in reality.


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