After Dark- Intriguing Murakami

Read a slim Murakami novel called After Dark. It is the most intriguing yet, because it involves a sort of overarching camera as one of the ' observers' of the goings on in the life of a 'sleeping beauty' who has been at it for two months or more. She is a model and also a delicate person with a lot of medical problems. Her teenaged sister is the other major actor, very much awake and aware of the stark differences between herself and her sister- in looks and likes.

Many truths about life and living appear as part of the dialogue between the sister who is awake and a casual acquaintance (male) she meets in a coffee shop, and another (female) she meets in a love hotel (where people go on a short date). It emerges that the siblings are not very close, and suffer from guilt/confusion in their own ways. Like many of his stories, this one also leaves the reader guessing, with the stories of the characters left unresolved.

Very interesting novel indeed, in his trademark style. There are some references to Chinese gangs operating rackets in Japan. Well, seems like a global phenomenon, with only the nationalities changing. But mostly, the story is about self-exploration, like most of his novels. I am an unabashed fan. This is about the eighth or ninth one I have read. The translator is an English literature prof at Harvard. Thanks to him for doing this, bringing a great author within our reach.

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