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After Dark by: Haruki Murakami

In Haruki Murakami’s novel After Dark, Mari is a girl who, for her entire life, has lived unnoticed in her older, magazine modeling sister’s shadow. As a result, Mari has become increasingly independent, academic, and anti-social as her freshman year of college quickly approaches.

In Haruki Murakami’s novel After Dark, Mari is a girl who, for her entire life, has lived unnoticed in her older, magazine modeling sister’s shadow. As a result, Mari has become increasingly independent, academic, and anti-social as her freshman year of college quickly approaches.

The two sisters have never been close, but Mari is finally starting to see that her older sister, Eri, may not be living the most glamorous life. Recently, Eri, has fallen into a coma-like sleep, only waking long enough to eat before falling back to sleep for days at a time. What is even more unusual is that since Eri’s deep sleep began, Mari cannot seem to find any sleep for herself, leaving her nothing else to do but wander the streets of Tokyo at night, seeking something to keep her occupied.

The entire novel of After Dark takes place between the hours of midnight and dawn.  During this time, Mari meets a string of strangers, all of them holding a key to the puzzle of the girl Mari is. Only by getting in touch with herself does Mari have any chance of finding out what happened to her sister and how to help her finally wake from her sleep for good.

After Dark, not ironically, takes on a dreamlike quality itself. The character of Mari often seems one-step removed from all the events taking place after midnight, as if she is merely an observer rather than an actress. Haruki Murakami transforms the city of Tokyo into a place where the lines between reality and dreams are blurred; leaving the reader with a sense of mystery long after the novel has been completed. But like in dreams, the characters are only vaguely aware that things are not the way they should be.

As with all Haruki Murakami novels, After Dark transcends genre classifications, pulling themes and motifs from multiple places. The reader will be immersed in aspects of horror, mystery, and a coming-of-age story that will stay with the reader like the most haunting of dreams, unlike those that simply vanish upon waking.r, Eri, may not be living the most glamorous life.

Recently, Eri, has fallen into a coma-like sleep, only waking long enough to eat before falling back to sleep for days at a time. What is even more unusual is that since Eri’s deep sleep began, Mari cannot seem to find any sleep for herself, leaving her nothing else to do but wander the streets of Tokyo at night, seeking something to keep her occupied.