At the behest of a friend of mine, I decided to give Haruki Murakami a look, starting with After Dark, her recommendation. It was an altogether conflicting experience, I must say. I’ll admit, I initially balked at it, taking issue with his making the POV a character in and of itself, so to speak. But once the POV stopped hogging all the attention and he let his characters talk and interact, I found myself taken with his writing style, even in those sections where he starts toying with the POV some more. I can’t say I saw the point behind it all, but the end result read well enough, so who was I to complain?
Which pretty accurately summarizes my feelings towards the book as a whole. During the reading process, I was rather engrossed. It was only when I reached the end, which resolves nothing and draws attention to the lack of a traditional story arc, that I really got back to picking it apart. However, I don’t feel as if it’s fair to judge a book based on hindsight. It would be the equivalent of that scene you see all the time in television and movies where a character can’t get enough of a particular dish until he or she finds out what it’s made out of.
Better yet, it’s like judging said dish on the basis of it not being filling enough. It’s part of the experience, no doubt, yet it’s a small fraction of it compared to the taste itself, and After Dark went down rather easily. It left me wanting more, but doesn’t all literature worth a damn do that? Maybe, then, it’s better thatAfter Dark has made me think. Perhaps one day those thoughts will reveal that underlying meaning that I’ve seen so many others say it has. Or I might never see it as anything more than a quick read. Either way, I enjoyed it and look forward to reading more from Harakumi, starting with Kafka on the Shore.
Travis Smith’s blog, containing this review, as well as others, photography, and more, can be found here.