In "After Dark" Murakami creates a partnership with his readers. He brings forward a new "we". The readers and the author are standing in the exact same spot, somewhat aside from the course of events, somewhat in the heart of things. The author describes what "we" see. The story begins at 23:56, as we see Mari Asai, a young Japanese college student, sitting alone in a restaurant reading a book. She''s decided to spend the night outside and is about to meet a variety of night-characters - the ptople of Tokyo who live between midnight and sunrise. We shall accompany her in her night-time journey until morning, by then she will return home. She serves us as a mediater, a representative of daylight people in the night-time world.
While she walks the streets we make the aquaintance of her sister. Eri Asai is a beautiful model, who has been sound asleep for a long time. her sleep is unnatural and unhealthy, it is misterious and bewitched. She lives in an eternal night, detatched from the world and far from her sister.
Two plot roll in parallel, as we shift briefly from one focus of the events to the other, picking up bits and pieces to create one whole picture of one night in a big city.
Murakami''s writing combines real and surreal styles and the plot moves freely between reality and dream in a manner that gives a general feeling of floatation. Light and compassion, violence and dark needs appear here, alternating rapidly at times and Murakami weaves them into a fascinating story. We are carried on the wings of night and land with the heroes back into the reality revealed at dawn.
A wonderful book, highly recommended!