After Dark

Haruki Murakami

Book cover

I read this novella just out of the Murakami-completist urge, but I ended up liking it quite a bit–not as much as the greats, but better than, say, Dance Dance Dance or Sputnik Sweetheart.

While After Dark contains some of Murakami’s trademark magical realism, it was divided out in a way that I found pleasing. There is only one non-believable event that plays a pivotal role in the story, and even that is borderline–it is at least conceivable and comprehensible, if not likely. Beyond that, there are chapters relating to that one event that are very fantastical, but to an extent that made me clearly read them as metaphorical. (There are also two instances of people’s reflections remaining in mirrors after they have left the room, but these are so impactless as to reinforce the overall division.)

Aside from that, the story centers around the interactions of two very ordinary people, who are likable in a way reminiscent of the characters in Norwegian Wood. It is touchingly understated, much like that book.

My Goodreads rating: 3 stars