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CompleteMartialArts.com - After Dark (Vintage International)

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Manufacturer: Vintage
Average Customer Rating: Average rating of 3.5/5Average rating of 3.5/5Average rating of 3.5/5Average rating of 3.5/5Average rating of 3.5/5

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Binding: Paperback
Dewey Decimal Number: 895.635
EAN: 9780307278739
ISBN: 0307278735
Label: Vintage
Manufacturer: Vintage
Number Of Items: 1
Number Of Pages: 256
Publication Date: 2008-04-29
Publisher: Vintage
Release Date: 2008-04-29
Studio: Vintage

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Editorial Reviews:

A sleek, gripping novel of encounters set in Tokyo during the spooky hours between midnight and dawn, by an internationally renowned literary phenomenon.

Murakami's trademark humor, psychological insight, and grasp of spirit and morality are here distilled with an extraordinary, harmonious mastery. Combining the pyrotechnical genius that made Kafka on the Shore and The Wind-up Bird Chronicle international bestsellers, with a surprising infusion of heart, Murakami has produced one of his most enchanting fictions yet.

Spotlight customer reviews:

Customer Rating: Average rating of 3/5Average rating of 3/5Average rating of 3/5Average rating of 3/5Average rating of 3/5
Summary: Strangers in the night: intriguing and unsettling, but highly inconclusive
Comment: Lost souls in Tokyo.

A girl whose sister decided to go to sleep and still hasn't woken up a few months later. She can't stand sleeping in the next room, so finds ways to stay out all night. Hangs out at Denny's.

A kid in a band who once had a crush on the sister; now intrigued by the girl in Denny's.

A former female wrestler, now manager of a "love hotel" -- where a Chinese prostitute gets beaten up by a frustrated businessman.

The businessman who doesn't like to go home at night either, works all night and occasionally hires prostitutes.

The sleeping sister, who is being watched by a man on the other side of a television screen. At times the sister also appears on the other side of the television screen -- trapped, confused, lost. A metaphor for someone whose identity is bound up in representations: a model?

The enigmatic watcher, who has gotten dirty somehow, and we never know why.

It's an intriguing constellation of characters, who circle vaguely around one another, but whose trajectories never quite develop into a compelling story. All inconclusive in the end.

There is a speculative edge here: something to do with sleep as a metaphor for inaction, or for the condition of being nothing more than an image, a model, an empty ideal. This element felt undeveloped to me: mere speculation without anything conclusive.

This is the second book I've read by Murakami, and I don't know if this is true of all his works but both translations sound a little odd. Reading him is almost like reading subtitles for a foreign film. It never quite sounds right, but suggests something intriguing behind it all. The Wild Sheep Chase worked for me: odd and twisty, but with intriguing ideas that went somewhere. In this case I'm not sure. I might have to read it again, but first impressions on a first look aren't strong enough to motivate the second read.

Customer Rating: Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5
Summary: Intriguing, but with too many loose ends.
Comment: First of all, let me say, that I have very much enjoyed the book. However,
just like many other readers I have a hard time explaining what the story is
all about. It has, certainly, very moody character, but leaves so many loose
ends, that it does make one wander if author wrote it as, perhaps, an exercise.
An exercise in a particular screen play like writing style, which would be
another sticky point for some, although quite attractive and appropriate, in
that it seem to help to create the mood of Tokyo after dark. Still, it would
make much more sense for everyone if story was more developed and certainly
Murakami other works show that he is capable of producing complete store, may
be even overwritten, but in this case he clearly took a minimalist approach.

Recommended with reservations.

Customer Rating: Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5
Summary: After Dark
Comment: After Dark by Haruki Murakami: In Haruki Murakami's latest novel, After Dark, he tells a unique and compelling story of what goes on after midnight on the streets of Tokyo. It is a very different world from that of the daytime, with very different people. Murakami makes this clear by revealing that the rules of physics and reality don't necessarily apply.

The story begins with a young girl, Mari Asai, reading a book at Denny's after midnight, but it immediately jumps to the unusual, as Mari is greeted by a boy she hasn't seen in a while who sits opposite her and begins conversing. She admits she plans on spending the night out, doing anything other than sleeping. The boy, Tetsuya Takahashi, tells her about his late night band practices - he is a trombonist. After he leaves for his practice, a short while passes before a strange, rough looking woman comes into Denny's and walks straight up to Mari, telling her she is the manager of a love hotel and has found a beaten girl who only speaks Chinese in one of her rooms; Takahashi told her Mari speaks Chinese. So begins an adventurous - and at times dark and morbid - night.

After Dark tells of various characters who all go about their lives during the early morning hours in Tokyo, but who are intrinsically linked and will cross paths one or more times during the night. At the heart of the story is Mari and her love for her beautiful sister, to whom she is no longer close. Eri Asai was a girl born with a special beauty, but recently gave up on life and now spends her days and nights in a deep, almost catatonic sleep. But she is just one cast member whose life is affected on this particular night.

Murakami uses a floating camera narrator to take the reader everywhere and anywhere, where there are no bounds, where things are dark and scary. After Dark is a short, but haunting tale with some special characters who will stay with you long after you have closed the book and put it aside.


Customer Rating: Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5Average rating of 4/5
Summary: The plot was a little boring
Comment: The book looked interesting, but when I began to read it, I became bored with it. I found there wasn't really any plot. It was just a bunch of conversations composed into one book. It certainly wasn't worth what I paid for it.

Customer Rating: Average rating of 2/5Average rating of 2/5Average rating of 2/5Average rating of 2/5Average rating of 2/5
Summary: another page turner but v .weak in plot & character
Comment: Nothing new in this one. Sleeping beauty Eri is an OK symbol for Japan, and the equally pretty but poor and abused Chinese hooker does an equivalent job for her nation I suppose. I prefer the treatment of the Japan-China issue in his masterpiece Wind-Up Bird, of course, and the memory of characters like lieutenant Mamiya or Yumiyoshi makes the ones of this novel seem too thin. Pages turn fast as usual with M., but this time a lot less startingly. Very good job of the night hours as a plot device (a la Jarmusch's Night on Earth) and really great that Jay Rubin is back as translator, after less fortunate attempts by others. Still, two stars only for such an obvious quickie. Please M.H. don't become a brand; stay a real writer.

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