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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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From Dusk to Dawn

A certain aura begins to develop when night falls and the darkness descends.’ This affects many, if not all of us, as people begin to adjust to the wavering light, and its effects on the surrounding environment. ‘ Haruki Murakami focuses upon such nighttime psyches in his book ‘After Dark.’ ‘ The short novel was originally published in Japan in 2004. ‘ It was later released by Alfred A. Knopf in the United States in 2007, with a translation by Jay Rubin, who has worked on Murakami’s stories before.

‘After Dark’ is a glimpse into two sisters’ lives over the course of one night in Tokyo, from 11:56 p.m. to 6:52 a.m.’ Eri Asai is the older sister who spends the night sleeping in her bedroom at home, while Mari Asai, the younger sibling, seeks refuge outside, wandering around the city.’ Their stories are disconnected at first, as Murakami methodically switches between the two concurrent plots with each linking chapter.’

Mari’s story is a straightforward and dynamic narrative that is rich in both locales, from a local Denny’s restaurant ‘ to a ‘love hotel’ named Alphaville, and eccentric characters, such as the jazz trombonist Tetsuya Takahashi and the Alphaville manager Kaoru.’ It is inevitable that the sisters’ lives will converge once again as the night draws to a close, but before Mari returns home, she will discover more about herself and her sister through each unpredictable encounter and episode.

The novella’s postmodern characteristics are more prevalent throughout Eri Asai’s surreal story.’ ‘ Although there is less action in her story, it is filled with philosophical speculation and a bizarre undertone.’ The reader serves as the main channel throughout Eri’s story, playing a vital role as the observer.’

Eri is transported from the comforts of her bedroom through a television set into another dual reality: a barren and desolate office.’ This same office appears in Mari’s storyline, but the main character here is the criminal Shirakawa. ‘ He is an unsuspecting salaryman, working for the company Veritech, who has violently assaulted a sex worker at Alphaville.’ The connection here is uncanny and seems to place Eri in harm’s way.’ The reader is left to wonder if Eri will ever be able to wake up from her deep, dreamless sleep.’

Yet, as Mari’s story progresses, she manages to unearth some newfound hope in reconnecting with her sister.’ Korogi, an employee at Alphaville, helps Mari in that search when she says that ‘people’s memories are maybe the fuel they burn to stay alive.’ Whether those memories have any actual importance or not, it doesn’t matter as far as the maintenance of life is concerned.”

It is these short snippets that display Murakami’s memorable writing.’ His words can be striking at times, a rewarding experience when the speculation gets tiresome.’ On the other hand, the next chapter will return to Mari, and soon, the new day will dawn.

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