Wednesday, May 8, 2013

New-To-Me-Author review: After Dark

"After Dark" is by

I suspect this was not the place to start with Murakami.

I enjoyed the experience of reading this book, enjoyed it very much - but I did not as such enjoy the story. I enjoyed it as a creation of words, and I enjoyed the characters. But I felt less like I was reading a story and more like I was reading a bundle of themes connected in such manner as they required. I think reading something else first may have prepared me for it a bit better.

That being said, I DID enjoy it. The prose flowed like mercury, sometimes pooling and waiting and reflecting everything and sometimes rushing headlong from one place to the next. The theme of the title made itself deeply felt throughout the book - not only in the most basic place, as the entirety of the story takes place at night, but also in myriad other literal and metaphorical ways.

Some metaphorical darkness drives almost all the characters and informs their decision. The literal darkness and braving that darkness is an act of defiance against nature and society. But darkness also forces people together - driven home most clearly when Mari remembers the time she felt closest to her sister, when they were trapped together in a pitch-black elevator. The strength in the face of the darkness is an important recurring thing as well.

The recurring music namedrops were interesting as well - though I have to admit that, being most familiar with Five Spot After Dark, it's the one that kept running through my head while I was reading it. Which was funny because it almost seemed too upbeat for the book. Though then again, maybe that's the point.

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