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 a second time by a girl from the Alphaville Hotel; a Chinese prostitute has been hurt by a client, the girl has heard Mari speaks fluent Chinese and requests her help. Meanwhile Eri is at home and sleeps a deep, heavy sleep that is 'too perfect, too pure' to be normal; pulse and respiration at the lowest required level. She has been in this soporific state for two months; Eri has become the classic myth - a sleeping beauty. But tonight as the digital clock displays 00:00 a faint electrical crackle is perceptible, a hint of life flickers across the TV screen, though the television's plug has been pulled. Strange nocturnal happenings, or a trick of the night?
Haruki Murakami was born in Kyoto in 1949 and now lives near Tokyo. He is the author of many novels as well as short stories and non-fiction. His works include Norwegian Wood, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, Kafka on the Shore, After Dark and What I Talk About When I Talk About Running. His work has been translated into more than forty languages, and the most recent of his many international honours is the Jerusalem Prize, whose previous recipients include J.M. Coetzee, Milan Kundera, and V.S. Naipaul.
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