Asian studies in Lithuania
Original language: Japanese
Translated from: Japanese
Authors: Murakami, Haruki
Translated by: Susnytė, Ieva
Full translated source bibliographical description:

Murakami, Haruki. Afutādāku, Tokyo: Kodansha, 2004.

ISBN: 978-9955-23-317-6
Published in: Vilnius
Published on: 2009
Publisher: Baltos Lankos

The name of novel „After Dark“, written by a Japanese writer Haruki Murakami, was an allusion to an authors favourite jazz music piece “Five Spot After dark”, which leads characters through labyrinths of loneliness and roads of self-knowledge.

“After Dark” – it’s a short novel in which we can see the characters’ lives during the witching hours between midnight and dawn. The main characters are two sisters – Eri, who is going through an existence crisis and Mari, who is searching the meaning of life. Besides the two main characters there are also some others, who seem not to be related with two main girls at all: chubby motel manager and her maid, a Chinese prostitute which was savagely assaulted by a client, and a jazz musician who claims that he met Mari at some point in the past. Although it seems, that people, who have such different lives have no opportunity to meet one another in real life but the secrets that haunt them draw them together more powerfully than the different lives that might keep them apart. These secrets might either restore their lives or destroy them forever.

In this novel the author mainly focuses on the secret doors that lead into darkness in the interval between midnight and dawn and a time when no one can predict when or where these doors will swallow people, or otherwise – push them out. The strong effect of this novel mainly comes from powerful settings, which at one moment seem incredibly realistic, but at the next one it can transfer the character into a whole new universe.

The novel “After Dark” is on an unceasing move – from mesmerizing drama to abstract reflections of life. These changes create an opportunity to interweave time and space, rational mind and fantasies as well as past and future, which can open the door to self-knowledge. In this novel Haruki Murakami masterly connects psychological insight, the understanding of life and death as well as humor, which is author’s trademark.

“After Dark” is not only strong but also disturbing piece of art. Mainly because it gives you an opportunity to connect your own life with the characters’. Also, author reminds us that the dangers that were portrayed in the book are not only his fantasies, but also the realities that await us outside our doorstep.

Initiators of the project: Japan foundation VDU