One of Murakami's Best
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.