'Eyes mark the shape of the city.'
Murakami has been one of my favourite authors for almost ten years now. I discovered him while I was studying at the Academy in Zagreb and up until then I was mostly interested in classic literature (still my favourite), with some exceptions and a few guilty pleasures. I was instantly drawn to his writing style and completely weird / crazy / surreal storylines and characters. Obviously, I was hooked from the very beginning.
A few months ago I decided to re-read his novels mostly beacuse I've changed so much since the day I first picked them up and without much thinking about it, my first choice was one of his shortest and least complicated novels, 'After dark'.
'Time moves in its special way in the middle of the night.'
It tells a story about encounters which take place in the middle of the night, during that mysterious hours between midnight and dawn, when most of the people are deep asleep but the city itself actually never is, no matter how silent it can seem.
We are introduced with just a few characters, with sisters Mari and Eri being the protagonists. Eri is a beautiful girl, a model who one day decided to fall asleep and still hasn't woken up. And Mari is a student who needed to escape her family life and Eri's situation so we find her sitting in a restaurant, reading a huge book and not caring much about what's going on around her. But all of that changes the moment Takahashi, a young trombonist who claims they have met before, approaches her which later on opens up a palette of different characters and fates, intertweaving time and space in the good old Murakami style.
'In this world, there are things you can only do alone, and things you can only do with somebody else. It's important to combine the two in just the right amount.'
From the very first sentence I was drawn into 'After dark' storyline and mood because Murakami is the master of creating the incredible atmosphere and writing brilliant dialogues that make you not wanting to put the book aside until you've read it. And even though at times this novel felt a bit unfinished (or perhaps I just didn't want it to end), I loved it a lot. And recommend it to anyone who still hasn't come across it. You'll sleep like a baby afterwards.
'Memory is so crazy! It's like we've got these drawers crammed with tons of useless stuff. Meanwhile, all the really important things we just keep forgetting, one after the other.'
'But why should you be interested in me?'
'Good question. I can’t explain it myself right this moment. But maybe – just maybe – if we start getting together and talking, after a while something like Francis Lai’s soundtrack music will start playing in the background, and a whole slew of concrete reasons why I’m interested in you will line up out of nowhere. With luck, it might even snow for us.'
Have you read 'After dark' and what are your thoughts on Murakami?