A disembodied narrator glides, camera-like, through a Tokyo night, tracking a handful of low-energy story lines in Haruki Murakami’s ninth novel. After Dark. At a 24-hour Denny’s, a dour young woman and a trombone player discuss intellectual curiosity, jazz, and chicken salad. Cut to a bedroom, where the woman’s sister languishes in a mysterious coma-like sleep. Cut back to the Denny’s, as a hotel manager turns up looking for someone to act as an interpreter for a Chinese prostitute. The plotlines intertwine haphazardly and a bit listlessly, but Murakami’s gifts for conjuring surreal imagery and a dreamlike mood remain uncanny. B
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