A narrative particle-accelerator that zooms between Wild Turkey Whiskey and Bob Dylan, unicorn skulls and voracious librarians, John Coltrane and Lord Jim. Science fiction, detective story and post-modern manifesto all rolled into one rip-roaring novel, Hard-boiled Wonderland and the End of the World is the tour de force that expanded Haruki ...
A narrative particle-accelerator that zooms between Wild Turkey Whiskey and Bob Dylan, unicorn skulls and voracious librarians, John Coltrane and Lord Jim. Science fiction, detective story and post-modern manifesto all rolled into one rip-roaring novel, Hard-boiled Wonderland and the End of the World is the tour de force that expanded Haruki Murakami's international following. Tracking one man's descent into the Kafkaesque underworld of contemporary Tokyo, Murakami unites East and West, tragedy and farce, compassion and detachment, slang and philosophy. The result is a wildly inventive fantasy and a meditation on the many uses of the mind.
I just finished Hard-Boiled Wonderland And The End Of The World, and though it took me awhile to get into it, it?s one of Murakami?s best. Each chapter alternates between two seemingly separate stories, one called Hard Boiled Wonderland and the other (wait for it) The End Of The World.
The first story involves an unnamed narrator who works as a Calcutec, someone who encrypts data by mentally separating it (into right-brain and left-brain data), then recompiling it. He does some work for a professor, and immediately falls into a path that makes him learn more about who he is, and his supposed destiny.
The second story is much, much, MUCH more surreal, taking place in an unnamed town, where a Gatekeeper shepherds some unicorns (yes, unicorns), and the protagonist has his eyes severed so that he can read the dreams of the town. (Told it you it was surreal.)
One starts suspecting early on that the stories are connected, as they are thematically similar in key ways, and the way the stories converge and eventually resolve themselves. The ending is very satisfying, and feels like it?s the only possible way to complete the story.
It?s a novel that actually asks some very interesting questions, and weaves an amusing and creative story along the way. Murakami is truly one of the masters out there right now (and was justly considered for this years Nobel Prize for Literature), and it?s consistently a pleasure to read his works.
May 28, 2007
Grab a coffee and hop back into to bed and snuggle into your blankets with this book! Murakami is an amazing writer. He combines modern day concerns with a 'reality' pushed to the extreem and then some. His style is engaging. I can only imagine that it would be better before translation - though I'm sure Alfred Birnbaum has done a great job. Murakami might not be for everyone, but if you like something a little different and intriguing, anything by Murakami is a sure bet. :) Enjoy!
Publishers Weekly, 2010-07-26 Murakami's two stories-which alternate, chapter by chapter-are told by two narrators, who split duties here. Ian Porter is the baritone, thoughtful and deliberative; Adam Sims is lighter spirited, flightier, and more amused by the bizarre comedy of Murakami's puzzle box. Both readers are well chosen, expertly picking their way across the minefield of this intoxicating, perplexing story. And their balancing act mimics the book's alternation of tones, styles, and stories. The recording is studded by occasional studio sound effects that are hardly necessary, but do manage to cleverly amplify the woozy, trippy disorientation of the tale. A Vintage paperback. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Publishers Weekly, 1993-02-22 Murakami's lightning prose more than sustains the elaborate plot of this thriller, set in a Tokyo of the near future. (Mar.)
Publishers Weekly, 1991-08-02 There ought to be a name for the genre Murakami ( A Wild Sheep Chase ) has invented, and it might be the literary pyrotechno-thriller. The plot here is so elaborate that about 100 pages, one-fourth of the book, elapse before its various elements begin to fit together, but Murakami's lightning prose more than sustains the reader. Embellished with witticisms, wordplay and allusions to such figures as Stendhal heroes and Lauren Bacall, the tale is set in a Tokyo of the near future. Thanks to a wonderland of technology, an intelligence agent has had his brain implanted with a ``profoundly personal drama'' that allows him to ``launder'' and ``shuffle'' classified data, and all that he knows of the drama is its password, The End of the World. But after interference from a scientist and from the Semiotecs, a rival intelligence unit, the subconscious story is about to replace the agent's own perceptions of reality. Intertwined with the agent's attempts to understand his plight are scenes from The End of the World. Murakami's ingenuity and inventiveness cannot fail to intoxicate; this is a bravura performance. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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