This novel is set over one night in Tokyo and revolves around Mari, a 19-year-old student who is spending her night sitting in a Denny’s reading a novel. There she meets Takahashi, an old high school acquaintance who plays the trombone in a band and has had a crush on Mari’s beautiful sister Eri since high school. Over the course of the night Mari also meets Karou, a retired female wrestler and manager of Alphaville, a love hotel, where a young Chinese prostitute has been attacked by a client. Meanwhile, Maris sister Eri is at home sleeping, a deep unnatural sleep and someone sinister is watching her.
The midnight hour approaches in an almost empty all-night diner. Mari sips her coffee and glances up from a book as a young man, a musician, intrudes on her solitude. Both have missed the last train home.Later, Mari is interrupted again by a girl from the Alphaville Hotel; a Chinese prostitute has been hurt by a client, and she needs Mari’s help.Meanwhile, Mari’s beautiful sister Eri sleeps a deep, heavy sleep that is ‘too perfect, too pure’ to be normal; she has lain asleep for two months. But tonight as the digital clock displays 00:00, a hint of life flickers across the TV screen, though the television’s plug has been pulled out.Strange nocturnal happenings, or a trick of the night?
This novel is set somewhere between reality and a dream. It is written as though we are watching a film, each scene taking place from a camera view, which makes it quite an interesting narrative. It also has a ‘real-time’ timeline, taking place in one night. Each chapter is quite short making it quick and easy to read. The parts involving Eri are very creepy in a Japanese horror film kind of way, but you just have to keep reading to see what is going to happen next.
Like all of Murakami’s books that I have read, I really liked it. It was interesting, different and each page just flowed into the next. I will definitely be adding more Murakami books to my bookshelf in the coming years.
If you liked this book you may like: Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami