Friday, 3 October 2014

'When I'm down and feeling blue...'

Review: After Dark by Haruki Murakami

This will most likely be a short review for a short book, but my God, this one was magical. After Dark was my first Murakami novel, and despite mixed reviews on Goodreads, it did not disappoint. 

I was thoroughly hooked by the lyrical, beautiful description of the Japanese city from the opening pages, and whilst this did not continue throughout the whole novel, it's a description that will come to haunt me as it haunted the whole book. 
The novel follows a young girl, Mari, and what happens to both her and her sister over one night in the Tokyo. Here Mari meets people who exist only at night, who have secrets that draw on her own. All of the characters are so well drawn and unique, and could all have been main characters in their own, expanded novel. I enjoyed the un-cliche (is that a word?) portrayal of clever Mari who always wants to better herself, and the full of chatter yet slightly serious Takahashi, a boy she meets on her way. The storyline with Mari's sister Eri is the strange one, and it is the big mystery in the novel which is never quite figured out, however the multiple weaving storylines are so gripping, and I'm not sure how.Although this piece did not make sense a hundred percent, I found it to be so inherently beautiful and enthralling that I couldn't put it down. It opened my eyes up to the Japanese culture which is completely different from anything that I have experienced, and yet the characters and the situation seemed to identifiable. The depiction of the night and the dark was chilling, but also so real and honest. Murakami seemed to do something so hard for a novelist, and condense such a huge theme into such a small work. It is a work that was so broad and yet so condensed I cannot really explain it, and feel that I am just rambling on. It is a work that will stick with me.

This was a book that I got from the library but would love to buy in paperback, it was so good. I've never really been that into magical realism, but I am most certainly into Murakami, so I would certainly like to give his works a try. Norwegian Wood is number one on my list for now, one that I will definitely have to purchase in the near future. 

What is it about? I don't know, and I think it will take me a while to process. Right now I'm thinking secrets, and what of ourselves we choose to reveal to the world and what we hide. 
Would I recommend? Yes, 100%. 

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