"After Dark" is a novel by Japanese author Haruki Murakami, published in Japan in 2004, and released in English translation in 2007. The work is short, 191 pages in my edition.
The book is very much a Murakami book, and my explanation of it will probably make the most sense to those familiar with Murakami. Whether a reader would appreciate the book also depends on how they feel about Murakami on the whole, and how they feel about his contrasting habits of minimalism and expansiveness. Unlike The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle and Hard Boiled Wonderland and The End of the World, the action of the book is very compact, taking place in a single night. But like those books, and others, it begins as a realistic novel full of mundane details about young, college age people with very familiar lives. The book opens when a young woman and young man who were faintly acquainted run into each other inside a Denny's, and have a meandering conversation over their meal. The plot starts, such as it is, when the girl is called to interpret for a Chinese prostitute who was beaten up by a salaryman at a love hotel. The mystery of her beating leads into the book's occult mystery, which is why the sister of the girl has been asleep for two months.
If that hastily sketched out plot seems odd, it is. Although, as I said, those experienced with Murakami will find the combination of mundane descriptions of consumer life mixed in with an inexplicable mystery that is described but not explained fully to be fairly standard. Connections between the disparate characters and plot threads are hinted at, but the book ends without coming to a conclusion.
My own personal preference is for Murakami's more sprawling works, such as Hard Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle and Kafka on the Shore. When it comes to his minimalistic works, I was mildly interested in Sputnik Sweetheart and annoyed by South of the Border, West of the Sun. Whether a reader will appreciate "After Dark" and its combination of low-key conversation and metaphysical mystery is probably simply a matter of taste.