• Murakami

    Date: 2012.01.14 | Category: Books | Tags:

    Part of my New Years resolution to do more things that make me, “me” includes an intense consumption of books.

    One of my favorite authors is the super weird and talented Haruki Murakami.(I promise I liked him even before 1Q84 made the top 20 must read list of 2011). At any rate while I was researching some of his books to read, I stumbled upon this Haruki Murakami Book Reading Challenge and decided to take it up. My goal is to read three of his books this year. I feel the need to space them out because they are mind bendingly weird and my brain needs a break between volumes.

    For some reason every Murakami I’ve “read” thus far has been an audiobook. Something about listening to his stories with various voices tends to draw me in. So when I learned I would be on the road for work quite a bit last week, I downloaded one of his shorter titles, After Dark.

    This morning I was trying to think of how to explain the plot and in my head it went something like this:

    Boy recognizes girl at Denny’s from a double date he went on with her and her gorgeous sister several years ago. Somehow boy gets girl involved with translating for a beat up Chinese prostitute at a love hotel managed by a giant woman who used to be a wrestler. Man who beat girl up works nights at a computer company that somehow is connected to the girl’s beautiful sister who goes to sleep for many weeks and gets sucked into a room inside a television screen. Also, there are cats, but there are always cats in Murakami’s books.

    See what I mean about weird?

    Overall, the story was interesting, though compared to some of his other epic novels, the ending was a bit disappointing. One of my favorite aspects about his books is this constant sense of mystery. Something weird is going on, something otherworldly and you wonder about it the whole book. This time it was the sleeping sister’s story and the t.v., but that plot line was never really resolved.

    As per his other volumes, there were great characters in this story. I particularly liked the love hotel manager and the main character, Mari. There are also several interesting sinister characters who have something disturbingly wrong with them. Despite the unsatisfying ending, the story kept me interested until the end.

    Over all, 3 stars out of 5.

    I’ve heard this book is kind of a precursor to 1Q84, so I’m glad that I read it. I will most likely listen to that book next for this particular challenge.

    Are you familiar with Murakami? What have you read and what would you recommend?