Monday, August 13, 2007
Book Review: Murakami – After Dark
It’s hard to tell if Murakami is recently prolific or if it's simply his translators who are are. Nevertheless, this is the fourth book from him in three years, and in that spell, it's his most elegant submission. A “slim” volume, it could be described as Murakami light, but even so it retains all the key elements that longtime fans love so much. Dualism, dream worlds, sinister fascist overlords, coffee, women with small ears, American food, cats, minimalists, and jazz all make their appearances in this light-hearted and ultimately very touching story.
Murakami’s Japan, often criticized in his own country for being too foreign (American), is a strange and spooky place where the characters never really feel at home. Through simplifying their lives, lives which are inevitably complicated by the author, and seeking solitude, they tend to find happiness. It is a most therapeutic journey for a busy western mind to take and I recommend it highly. Think of it as the modern literary equivalent of Zen meditation, but with chicken salad sandwiches and Jazz.