"After Dark" is by Haruki Murakami.
It's the first of his books I've read, though I'm hoping it won't be the last. I may actually have to come back to this one after I've read some others because... well, the review discusses it. :)
I suspect this was not the place to start with Murakami.
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
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.
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.