Murakami’s novel After Dark has the unique feature of keeping the reader at a distance while still incorporating them into the work as “we”. The reader is never directly involved in the action of the story but is able to relate as their, “point of view, as an imaginary camera, picks up and lingers over things like this in the room. We are invisible, anonymous intruders” (Murakami 33). This same relationship the reader has with the novel can be expanded to how one feels as life happens and passes them by. One feels like, “we are not physically present in the place, and we leave behind no traces” (Murakami 33). It is this disconnection with other human beings and society that grasps the essence of this novel.
These relationships between the characters in the story help to define the “collective entity” of the novel while still showing the individuality of people. Each person with their unique characteristics must all together in this world. Unique to this story though is a character’s ability to not be present in a room, but still linger behind. Perhaps the author is trying to say that even when someone is not physically present we still have the ability to remember and learn from that person. It is these walls, either physical or not, that ultimately define our relations with other people. The novel’s greatest accomplishment is its ability to make the reader question who they are as a person. And what defines being human? One is forced to analyze the unique human feature, the mind.