Saturday, December 27, 2008

After Dark

Author: Haruki Murakami
Pages: 201
My Rating: 4.0/5

As part of the OT challenge, one author I was really keen on taking up was Haruki Murakami. It was pretty tough for me to decide which one of his books I need to pick up first coz every book seemed to have great reviews. Finally I decided to read "After Dark" which is set in Japan..

The novel is about incidents that take place in one night (around midnight to 7am) in the Tokyo city. There are different people involved in different situations but somehow they are all connected. If any of you have watched the movies 'Crash (English)' or 'Is Raat ki Subah Nahi (Hindi)', the concept is pretty much the same.. it just feels really different reading it!

The book has 2 main characters - Eri and Mari who are sisters. While Mari spends a sleepless night inside a restaurant, Eri sleeps in her room furnished with just a bed and a television. She sleeps thru out the book, till the end. Her sleep doesnt seem natural.

I don't think I understood Eri's character very well. The author does indicate at some parts that Eri has some psychological issues or emotional problems that she hasn't shared with anyone in her family, including her sister. We get to know this from the conversation between Mari and Eri's friend. So I guess the author was trying to show Eri's state of mind, while she slept, using the television set as a reference to her inner self (state of her mind). Anyway am still not sure if my interpretation is right. So if you have read the book and you have thoughts on this, do leave me a comment...

Parallely we see other stories - there is a chinese prostitute who is injured and Mari goes to her rescue; a strange guy who works in a software company and prefers to stay in office thru out the night and doesnt seem to share a good relationship with his family; we also come across Eri's friend who meets Mari in the restaurant she is sitting in that night. Somehow, all these characters are connected to each other and lead into a complex story...

I really didnt quite get the ending..and tried hard to research it online but in vain. Maybe I need to read it again to understand better. But that didnt stop me from liking the book. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. It's a very short book, but intense, complex, intriguing and extremely well written. Definitely worth a read!!

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