After Dark is the very first Murakami book I’ve ever read…and I’m glad it was. Haruki Murakami brought me to Tokyo. I loved how he described every detail in the scene of the story. I can almost imagine seeing the novel in the big screen.
What makes this book brilliant is that he made the readers become a part of the story. The narrator is in plural form. Murakami uses “we” as he narrates the story as if we, readers and the narrator, although not physically present, are witnesses and are actually observing the story in ‘real time’.
“Through the eyes of a high-flying night bird, we take in the scene from midair.”
“The room is dark, but our eyes gradually adjust to the darkness.”
“Our viewpoint takes form of a midair camera that can move freely about the room. At the moment, the camera is situated directly above the bed and is focused on her sleeping face. Our angle changes at intervals as regular as the blinking of an eye.”
The whole story happened sequentially from 11:56pm ‘til 6:52am and the readers can keep track of the actual time the scene was happening since it is indicated in every chapter and at the top of each page.
Some bits of the novel may be disturbing like the ones wherein Mari’s “modernized-sleeping-beauty” sister Eri finally woke up trapped in an unplugged TV and Shirakawa’s reflection remained in the mirror even after he left. Yeah, those kind of stuff, but I can’t say it’s horror nor a psycho thriller.
The novel is easy to understand and straightforward but not a total giveaway. And towards the end, it is up to us to decipher the message.
If you’re a fan of anything surreal or unknown, this is the right book for you. So there, I won’t spoil you by giving a summary of the story. Go get a copy now.