After Dark - Jay Rubin, Haruki Murakami So this is my first Murakami book. Especially with all the buzz surround 1Q84, I thought maybe I should give him a shot but this is all that Radnor Library had available this weekend. I really hope the rest of his books aren't like this one, because I might have to start worrying about a few of my friends. I don't know if something about it went over my head, I don't know if it was a problem with the translation, I don't know if Murakami just did a shitty job. But, oi vey, this was bad.

Designed to be an examination of sorts of what goes on between the hours of midnight and dawn, the novel focuses on two sisters. Disgruntled college freshman Mari is hanging out at Denny's when she is approached by a musician claiming to recognize her and, separately, an employee of an hourly motel needing a translator to help sort out a situation with a Chinese prostitute who's been beaten up. Not wanting to go home, she goes out in search of the musician and a romance begins to swell. Meanwhile, the beautiful Eri....sleeps...while a television comes to life in the background? I guess it's supposed to be vaguely sci-fi, but I honestly started skimming those sections after her first chapter.

There's no character development in this novel. None. At all. There's alllllllmost nothing I hate more in a novel than no attempts at character development. Even if it's a short novel, you've got to give me some sort of idea as to who these people are and why I am supposed to care what happens to them. The dialogue was stilted, and the prose felt like reading the stage directions in a screen play. In fact, especially in Eri's chapters, Murakami describes a camera panning around the room noticing things. Why? Was it supposed to make it feel more metaphysical? It just annoyed me.

A lot of reviewers seems to insist that I shouldn't let this convince me that Murakami isn't worth delving in to, but I have to admit: I am extremely sketpical.