Saturday, December 29, 2012

After Dark by Haruki Murakami

It's been over a year since I've read a book by Haruki Murakami, so after reading almost every category from the Eclectic Reader Challenge I rewarded myself in the Your Favorite Genre category by reading After Dark. Really I don't know if I could choose 1 favorite genre, but many of my favorites had already been covered so I chose Magical Realism. I think it's hard to put Haruki Murakami's writing style into a genre box, since he has a style all his own, but Magical Realism comes pretty close.

Anyway, here is my summary of After Dark:

Just kidding. That's Micah Lidberg's summary.

After Dark centers around one night in the lives of 2 sisters, Eri and Mari. Mari seems hell bent on staying up all night reading in Denny's. She meets a guy on his way to band practice who knows her sister. He plays the trombone because the first time he heard the song Five Spot After Dark by Curtis Fuller he thought, "That's the instrument for me. The trombone and me: it was a meeting arranged by destiny."

Meanwhile Eri is asleep in her home. She's been asleep for months and nobody can figure out why. But we see through an omnipresent narrator that something evil is watching her and perhaps controlling her through her television.

I don't want to give any more of the story away because the journey is the joy of a Murakami story. I loved this book, but it does all take place in one night and was only 244 pages. I'm used to really long, super involved books by him.

Here's one of my favorite scenes:

"You know what I think?" she says. "That people's memories are maybe the fuel they burn to stay alive. Whether those memories have any actual importance or not, it doesn't matter as far as the maintenance of life is concerned. They're all just fuel. Advertising fillers in the newspaper, philosophy books, dirty pictures in a magazine, a bundle of ten-thousand-yen-bills: when you feed 'em to the fire, they're all just paper. The fire isn't thinking, 'Oh, this is Kant,' or 'Oh, this is the Yomiuri evening edition,' or 'Nice tits,' while it burns. To the fire, they're nothing but scraps of paper. It's the exact same thing. Important memories, not-so-important memories, totally useless memories: there's no distinction--they're all just fuel...You know. I think if I didn't have that fuel, if I didn't have these memory drawers inside me, I would've snapped a long time ago. I would've curled up in a ditch somewhere and died. It's because I can pull the memories out of the drawers when I have to--the important ones and the useless ones--that I can go on living this nightmare of a life. I might think I can't take it anymore, that I can't go on anymore, but one way or another I get past that."

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