Haruki Murakami //
In After Dark, the reader has the feeling, even more than usual in Murakami's work, that he or she is watching a film. The text, particularly the names of the chapters in which we see Eri asleep, takes the point of view from which the story would be shown on screen. In this aspect the clock plays a very important role in your enjoyment of the book, and Booktunes would strongly urge you to mimic the timings you'll find inside it...
You should pick up the book at five to midnight, and read, just as in the book, the whole night through until you fall asleep around half past six. 'The old temporality is losing its effectiveness and moving into the background. Many people go on mumbling the old words, but in the light of the newly revealed sun, the meanings of words are shifting rapidly and are being renewed.'
Even in this relatively short story, some familiar Murakami themes emerge: detachment from the busy (social) world; a dark side to the characters that isn't further deepened or explored; and a gateway to a parallel world. And precisely because it's a short story, these themes are explored even less than normal. Fortunately this deepens the enveloping 'night' atmosphere with all its dark, mysterious corners; Murakami uses a the fuzzy camera technique through which the reader is carried through the vague boundaries of his fictional world.
The reader is also taken through the narrative by the music discussed in the story. Despite the fact that it's occasionally used only to illustrate the place where the scene takes place, or with titles in mind that appear to have been chosen particularly literally, the music certainly adds to the power of the written word. The hip hop that that comes out of the ceiling of the 7-Eleven remains firmly in the background, but Rollin's 'Sonnymoon' certainly emphasises the intensity of Takahashi's solo. Sharikawa types all night to his favourite Bach CD. A bartender doesn't like CDs, as they're too bright. He sticks a record on instead, a routine that perfectly suits the rhythm of the night. 'The languorous, sensual music of Duke Ellington. Music for the middle of the night'.
text by E. de Loor / transl. by W. Georgi / photo by Mariko Zervos