Spanning over the course of one single night in the vibrant, neon lit city of Tokyo. The lives of several young adults, each coming to grips with their impending choices for the future, intertwine.
The story is laid out in chronological chunks throughout the night, with each characters tale taking up previous left off to resume their own separate agenda.
Murakami again shows his strength and individuality as a writer in the details. Excelling in his delicate descriptions and casual interjections that make his work such a pleasure to read. Whilst simultaneously weaving together several fragments of seemingly unconnected storyline, cumulating in the final scene.
The reader is given the view point of a floating camera, being the silent observer within the unfolding series of events that pass. Weaving in and out the characters lives as a stealthy shadow observing what takes place as a passive force.
Right from the off, I felt that this novel was written in a different style to those I have previously read, but that of course could be due to the difference in translator.
It lacks that fantastical magical element that I felt was so evidently present in 'Kafka on the Shore' and 'Hard Boiled and The End of The World'.
Replaced instead by a gritty sense of urgency and heavy foreboding.
The novel unfolds like a detective story, offering voyeuristic snippets of clues that I at times felt uncomfortable to be privy to, not because of their graphic content but because of the underlying sense of unease and invasion of their right to privacy.
In conclusion, 'After Dark' takes a slightly different 'off branching' from Murakami's previous works.
But none the less proves to be a poignant and thrilling journey into his ever surreal and pop cultured but now also current, grounded and under bellied Japanese world.