Haruki Murakami - "After Dark"

Posted by prla1983 on December 31, 2008 • 1 commentsEmail This Post

Here's a contemporary Japanese writer which I couldn't help but notice given how well published he seems to be in my home country. Translations of his work proliferate in Portuguese libraries and a year ago one of his books caught my eye and I decided to give it as a Christmas present to a friend of mine. Before wrapping it though, I couldn't help but read a few pages. I found it somewhat entrancing, weird but very appealing at the same time. I didn't read much of it though but made a mental note of Murakami - alongside hundreds of other authors in my ever growing list.

A couple of days ago, while spending some time in my hometown for Christmas, I went out for a stroll and visited the local shopping mall. Sometimes I enjoy being on my own, wandering from store to store, especially bookshops. Taking my time to peak over a few titles, Murakami came up again and, on a whim, I brought "After Dark" home with me.

What distinguishes night from day? Is it simply the sun that is set? Or is there something else? What happens after dark? This book got me thinking about it and while there's hardly any definite answer, I'd say there's certainly a different feeling at night.

Murakami's story is then a simple tale of a group of seemingly unrelated people for the duration of one late night in Tokyo. Like many people, I'm somehow attracted to Oriental culture and Tokyo has a certain je ne sais quois, some kind of sophisticated glamour that it's not entirely easy for me to pinpoint. Sofia Coppola's "Lost In Translation" pretty much exhales whatever I'm getting at here.

And so does Murakami, with mundane people affected by mundane thoughts resulting in a story that's everything but mundane, in a David Lynch-esque sort of way, where the line between fantasy and reality is blurry most of the time, such as when a TV set suddenly comes to life or when a mirror keeps the reflection after the subject is gone. Murakami manages to convincingly turn random and otherwise passable scenarios into remarkable and compelling situations and dialogue, using the stillness of the night as his best ally.

I finished this somewhat short book a few minutes ago and because of its nature, it's still a bit difficult to gather my thoughts about it. Thought-provoking books like these usually take some time to ultimately sink in but the immediate experience was definitely rewarding. Books are devices in our way to becoming better persons, even if some are just trash and don't contribute a thing to that design. Trust me, this one does.

4/5

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Stuff To Check Out Later

Posted by prla1983 on May 07, 2007 • 2 commentsEmail This Post

  • Rome - The Complete HBO Series 1 (6 Disc Box Set) (IMDb)
    Heard nothing but good things about this one and the IMDb rating is huge for almost 5,000 votes. Guess I'll have to pick it up as soon as I get my degree done with.

  • Six Feet Under (IMDb)
    Somehow I ended up buying the second season a couple of years ago without having seen any of the first beforehand (yeah, dumb me). Saw a couple of episodes the first time around and I guess I just wasn't in the right frame of mind because I detested it. One day, a few months later, on a whim, decided to put it on again and it blew me out of the water instantly. Saw the entire season two, and though I'm sure I could have enjoyed it even more had I seen the first season previously, it was still a huge kick. Isabel has the first season (I should know, I gave it to her last Christmas *grin*) so I will pick that up as soon as I got some free time. Looking forward to move on and catch up on seasons three, four and five!

  • The Proposition (IMDb)
    Have had this one lying around (regretfully alongside many others in the same situation) since Cláudio offered it to me last Christmas. Sounds like it can be a very good one, and I really need to see it. Again, time... and the fucking degree out of the way.

  • Dalí and Pablo Picasso (Taschen Basic Art)
    The enlightening and stimulating conversations with Pedro are starting to pay off in a most unexpected way: I'm starting to feel inclined towards learning about painting! Which is a good thing, of course. I'm also really glad I found out about Taschen, because their catalogue is nothing short of amazing. Saw these two at Fnac earlier today, just didn't pick them up right away because, honestly, I'm really low on currency right now. But that's a whole different story...

  • A Letter Concerning Toleration
    Entirely thanks to Pedro again, following a quick chat about tolerating other people's actions and reactions and basically what's that all about. In the end, how to live better with ourselves and alongside the people that we really care about with conflict and unhappiness reduced to a minimum (this could really lend itself to an entire post about it... maybe some day).

    Any thoughts on these ones?

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  • A Couple of Exciting Prospects

    Posted by prla1983 on April 30, 2007 • 0 commentsEmail This Post

    There's at least two new movies that have caught my eye. One has just come out stateside and is called "Next". Featuring the great Nicolas Cage alongside the equally great Julianne Moore, it's (yet another) adaptation of a Philip K. Dick work, in this case the short story "The Golden Man". I remember having read it off of this anthology about a year ago but honestly it has quite evaporated from my mind. I know I enjoyed it at the time though.

    If Dick is one of the most adapted authors in history of movies and fiction, what can you say about Stephen King? I wonder who counts the most adaptations. This new one, "The Mist", I'm actually excited about because it will be directed by Frank Darabont, the fantastic director who also did my favorite movie of all time and the mildly interesting "The Green Mile", both King's adaptations. Incidentally, IMDb also tells me that Darabont will also be doing Ray Bradbury's "Fahrenheit 451 come 2008.

    And I still haven't seen "The Fountain" and "Inland Empire". Damn!

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