Review of After dark by Murakami Haruki

“After Dark” is a short and mesmerizing novel written by the author Murakami Haruki, published officially in 2004. 

 It is mainly about a group of people, some of who have never even met each other, roaming through the streets of Tokyo, specifically in a neighbourhood named Shibuya, during the night until dawn. The story starts with a brief description of the city through the night and soon after, the attention is brought to the main character, Mari Asai, a college student, who was chilling in a diner called “Denny’s” while reading a book. She is suddenly disturbed by a presence she is not quite familiar with: Takahashi Tetsuya, a musician who recognized the girl because of an encounter of many years ago thanks to her sister, Eri Asai. Mari doesn’t seem interested in the guy but she will soon find herself in situations least expected because of him. She will meet other people far different from her and spend the night with their company until dawn. 

Murakami is a Japanese contemporary author known for his basic writing even though his words mask some relevant facts. What is amazing about him is the fact that he does not focus his writing mainly on the story nor the plot. We can’t expect huge plot-twists or out-standing action and everything that concerns the surroundings, the setting and its details are neatly described, without any input from the writer himself, which sets the mood for the reader to get into the reading.  

What the author offers us above all is a clear outlook of the characters: we view them from the same point of view as a video camera. As a matter of fact, at first, we are given some passive and aloof descriptions.

Nevertheless, Murakami gives us some complex characters that go beyond the surface. They all hide deep secrets during the day but they all emerge in the night, a time where the characters show us their vulnerable side as the night itself symbolizes the darkness each person portrays. Everyone has a darkness, a secret that wish to keep hidden.

“Sometimes I feel as if I’m racing with my own shadow”. 

Sharika Shamin 4N