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Literature / After Dark

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After Dark is a novel by Haruki Murakami. It was published in 2004.

After Dark takes place in Tokyo, from midnight until dawn. It tells the story of five characters: Mari, a nineteen-year-old girl; Takahashi, a trombone-player at an all-night practice session; Eri, Mari's sister who is in a deep sleep; a Chinese prostitute who has been beaten up in a Love Hotel; and a salaryman working late on a software project.

The story weaves through the thin line between dreams and reality, and in the early hours of the new day, both get even less discernible from each other.


The Novel provides examples of:

  • Author Appeal: Murakami loves reading. Mari was supposed to spend her entire night (and early morning) reading at a Denny's restaurant. Murakami is also a huge jazz fan. Jazz musicians, music and songs are referenced throughout the entire novel. Also, Takahashi started to play the trombone because of a single jazz piece.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Korogi has painful-looking scars on her back and tells Mari that there are people chasing her who will do much worse than that if she's ever caught.
  • Double Take: Done by the narration when Eri disappears from her room
  • Elevator Failure: When Mari was in Kindergarten, an earthquake caused the elevator she rode with Eri to stop. The lights went off the and the two children were stuck in darkness, Eri holding her younger sister in a death-hug and trying to comfort her. Mari says that that was the last time she felt truly inseparable from her sister.
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  • The Faceless: The Man With No Face.
  • Functional Addict: Eri is a compulsive pill-popper and Mari says that she's been like that since she was a teenager and shows absolutely no signs of slowing down.
  • Granola Girl: Mari has hints of this; she doesn't eat chicken salad and is picky about omelettes because of the way chickens are treated.
  • Hyperlink Story
  • Love Hotel: Alphaville.
  • Maybe Ever After: Takahashi promises to write to Mari, and she promises to reply. Mari will soon leave for Beijing, China in an exchange-student program.
  • Mistaken for Gay: Happens to Takahashi a lot.
  • Mythology Gag: At around 4:09 A.M., Takahashi brings up his motto: "Walk slowly, drink lots of water." It's something that the bartender J tells the Rat in Pinball, 1973.
  • Overshadowed by Awesome: Mari's appearance. She's described by the narrator as quite attractive, but no one notices, because her sister is breathtakingly beautiful.
  • Picky Eater: Mari isn't exactly a child, but she isn't an adult either. She responds to Takahashi's invitations to eat as not liking the way the food was made or simply not liking the food itself.
  • Recurring Dreams: Happens to Korogi and Takahashi.
  • Salaryman: Shirakawa, though he's a darker example than most as he's also apparently into hiring prostitutes and then beating them if they fail to satisfy him.
  • Scars Are Forever: Takahashi has a scar on his right cheek from an accident when he was young. Korogi also has marks on her back which seem to be made from a branding iron.
  • Serious Business: The narration implies that this is Takahashi's attitude towards milk and apples.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: Mari and Eri.
  • Those Two Guys: Komugi and Korogi have this dynamic.
  • Title Drop: When '5 Spot After Dark' is mentioned.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Mari and Eri, respectively.
  • You ALL Share My Story: Mari is sitting in a Denny's, reading a book. Takahashi comes in and recognizes her from a double date a long time ago, when she was a replacement for her sister's friend. Takahashi leaves and a woman named Kaoru asks Mari to help her with a Chinese prostitute who has been beaten up. (Takahashi has worked for Kaoru in her Love Hotel before). The man who beat the Chinese prostitute up is actually Shirakawa, who may or may not be The Man With No Face, who has been watching over Mari's sister, Eri. (He probably isn't)
  • You Wake Up in a Room: Eri wakes up to find herself in the TV room and bed, dazed and confused, with no idea how she got there.

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