After Dark

Haruki Murakami

This reads like it could have been a screenplay, and I spent most of the book thinking what a great movie it would be — a little David Lynch in all the good ways.

As a novel it’s a little bit flat, but I still enjoyed the experiment in perspective. It seems as if there are a lot more characters interacting on one storyline, so while the book is very quiet in nature — everything takes place one night in (mostly) downtown Tokyo… the descriptions of this atmosphere are some of my favorite parts of the book — it also feels oddly crowded for Murakami. There’s one scene where there are five people in one room at the same time, and that seemed significant to me. Some aspects of the story don’t quite come together at the end, but overall I didn’t feel let down as some fans seem to be, judging from reviews.

I was a little distracted at the beginning when the first chapter opens inside a Denny’s in Tokyo; I kept wondering if it was a Americanized translation and what could the real diner be called? But it’s true, there are Denny’s in Japan. A 7/11 also features as a recurring setting. Both of which made me think about these quotes about translating from Japanese, one about Murakami specifically.