I try, I always do, I swear. I really try not to buy another book by this author when, while walking past the bookstore section dedicated to him, a novel that I still haven’t read catches my eye. The first thought that comes to mind is: “Come on, your reading list is so long and varied, and you’ve already read quite a few of Harukis’s books recently, no need to buy another one so soon!” Famous (and useless) last words, I think, while I walk out of the shop intrigued by the synopsis that I’m reading on the last page of the paperback I’ve just purchased.
“After dark” is a short novel that can be read in few hours. It does not feature the usual surreal and outwardly set of characters and bizarre situations of all of the Murakami’s novels - but one - that I have read: “The wind-up bird chronicle”, “1Q84”, “Killing commendatore” and “Kafka on the shore”, just to name a few. And it’s not hyperrealistic and nihilistically dramatic like “Norwegian wood” - his first major hit - either.
The story unfolds over the course of one night and deals with the lives of a bunch of Tokyo residents who seem to have little in common and whose stories, nevertheless, intersect and interact for a reason or another. As usual Murakami might be using the events narrated in the book to dig into the meaning of life coincidences, destiny, purpose, relations and fate. Or he could just be telling a story for the sake of it.
It’s up to you to decide how you want to interpret and enjoy the book.