After Dark

"After Dark" is a novel of the lives of two sisters, the opposites of each other despite having the same family history.

The entire novel takes place over the course of a single night in Tokyo where Mari, the rugged younger sister sits reading in a family restaurant, taking in the surprises of Tokyo nightlife at the same time.

As secondary characters, from a trombonist who had a crush on her sister to a Chinese prostitute who was beaten up by her customer, they each reveal something about her relationship with her sister.

At the same time, Eri, her elder and prettier sister lies in a deep sleep. The readers see how a television devoured her into a room on screen where she wakes up trapped and silenced, unable to speak a single word. Her struggle and confusion are shown through secondary characters and their understanding, or misunderstanding, of her.

Loneliness and isolation in life are portrayed through the two sisters, each leading their own lives yet yearning for sisterly love lost in their differences.

The sense of curiosity escalates and slows down as the story shifts to and fro the two sisters, each time increasing our knowledge of them.

Haruki Murakami does not seek to give answers to his novel, but chooses to question perception and identity. He shows instead of tells, obvious with the book's elaborate set-up which draws readers easily into the story.

The short book is foreboding yet funny at times, slow yet quick in revelation. Questions are raised and answered at a comfortable pace, making this a good read.

Related links: Haruki Murakami website, Wikipedia – Haruki Murakami

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