Wednesday, February 29, 2012

After Dark

Author: Haruki Murakami

In one of the interviews, Murakami recalls this: "There aren’t any new words. Our job is to give new meanings and special overtones to absolutely ordinary words.”

"After Dark" is yet another book which made me discover the specialness of Murakami's world. From 11.56PM till 6.40AM, the characters of Murakami come alive in the city of Tokyo, and a special, camera like 'viewpoint' gives us an account of what happens through the midnight hours, when the whole city sleeps.

Mari Asai, a scholarly, but tacit girl, is out of her house to spend the whole night outside. Takahashi, a 'would-be' law student is on the streets for his last 'all night' jazz practice. Kaouru, a retired female wrestler is on her night shift as a manager at a hotel called Alphaville, along with two helpers Komogi and Korugi.
Whereas the 'viewpoint' focuses on Eri Asai, the beautiful elder sister of Mari, who in her deep coma like sleep is transported to another room inside her disconnected bedroom TV.

The characters mingle with each other without any drama, and yet, the experience turns surrealistic. Murakami builds up the story in such a way that would make us forget about the ordinary world around us. Instead the story draws us into its deep vortex, slowly without realizing where it is taking us, till it's end. And not a second of pause to question about it!

Murakami refers to the characters from "After the quake", and also brings in cats in his story. What's his obsession with cats? Do you know that the bar he used to run was also named 'Peter Cats'? The character Takahashi also looked like a sketch of a younger Murakami, the shy Jazz Musician!

"After Dark" gave so many meanings to mundane things happening in the universe around me. I not only enjoyed reading it, but also enjoyed listening to the music quoted all through the book. This book is not just for 'reading', but for 'experiencing'.

Some of the interesting music albums mentioned in the book is listed below. Try to listen to them, they complete the feeling of reading this book!
  1. Go Away Little Girl – Percy Faith and His Orchestra
  2. Five Spot After Dark – Curtis Fuller
  3. The April Fools- Burt Bacharach
  4. More – Martin Denny
  5. My Ideal – Ben Webster
  6. Sophisticated Lady – Duke Ellington
  7. Jealousy – Pet Shop Boys
  8. I Can’t Go for That – Hall and Oates
  9. Theme from Love Story - Francis Lai
  10. Sonnymoon for Two – Sonny Rollins
  11. Bomb Juice - Shikao Suga
Reference: Murakami’s Interview.

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