After Dark

Haruki Murakami

In this novella, Murakami takes a semi-surreal snapshot of one night in the life of Tokyo, Japan. The plot is tied together with the familiar but finely executed device of intersecting the lives of disparate characters. Throughout the long hours between 11:56 p.m. and 6:52 a.m., After Dark’s denizens pay homage to the usual idols of roaming insomniacs: clandestine pleasures, bar-hopping, coffee and, of course, the 24-hour Denny’s. Even in translation, the dialogue contains uncanny subtleties. Murakami consistently pens conversations that are much too stark and real to be anything other than fiction. After this short novel, he may also have secured his throne as modern literature’s uncrowned king of phone exchanges. After Dark is not Murakami’s best novel, but it is still an unimpeachable excuse to buck circadian rhythm by staying up late to read.