Thursday, 27 March 2014

After Dark by Haruki Murakami

This slim novel of 201 pages by Japan's most well known  novelist abroad makes a fast and engrossing reading .But I will not call it  great.It is good but falls short of being great.What happens when  the darkness (night) arrives?It tells us what happens in the life of  a nineteen year old girl on one particular night  in Tokyo, when she is out on her own  in a coffee house.The first chapter begins at 11.56 pm and the last chapter ends at 6.52 am.
             There is an interesting observation on memory. "The people's memories are maybe the fuel they burn to stay alive.Whether those memories  have any actual importance or not, it doesn't matter as far as the maintenance of life is concerned.They're all just fuel"
                     Mari has a strange relationship with her sister  Eri Asai.They are very distant , though they want to be close to each other.When they got trapped in the lift of their building ,Eri made up her mind to be the strong big sister for Mari's sake.But over the years , Eri drifted apart from Mari due to their different life styles .She got sleeplessness , but still , Mari longs to be close to her sister."Try to remember all kinds of stuff  about your sister.It'll be  important fuel."
                              The company of strangers can lead to salvation, Murakami seems to believe.And in this book , Mari meets a stranger boy Takahashi , and  they share with each other many things they might not have shared with people whom they know.
 Murakami has an easygoing , captivating and  fluent style of expression , which holds our attention. Jay Rubin of Harvard University has translated it very well from Japanese.The story , though  disconnected in parts , lingers.The darkness leads to morning full of hope  and promise.
                                It is an interesting novel  and  I recommend you to read it , though  Murakami's  some  other books are better written.