Hard-boiled Wonderland and the End of the World, Paperback

Hard-boiled Wonderland and the End of the World Paperback

4.5 out of 5 (18 ratings)

Description

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.

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Showing 1 - 5 of 18 reviews.

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Review by
4

It took me a little longer to get absorbed than the two previous Murakami books I read (<a href="card_social.php?work=-1108422597"><i>Dance, Dance, Dance</i></a> and <a href="card_social.php?work=-175129609"><i>Wind-up Bird Chronicle</i></a>) but now I'm half-way through and totally hooked. It interleaves a cyberpunk-ish thread and a fantasy-ish thread which seem to converge in unusual and interesting ways as the novel progresses.Fortunately this book has not been "Britishized" as was the case with my copy of <i>Wind-up Bird</i> but there are still too many proofing errors. The translation seems more on par with <i>Wind-up Bird</i> than the very smooth <i>Dance, Dance, Dance</i>, but that could just as easily be due a different style or the fact that this is an earlier work.

Review by
5

Probably my favourite book. I can't write a review that will do this book justice.The facts: two parallel stories, one in (sort of reality) - one not. The startling feeling of realising that reality may not be, and how it may feel to have your mind and world collapse. I didn't want this book to finish.

Review by
3.5

Two intertwined tales, one set in a Hard-Boiled Wonderland, the other at the End of the World.Although I felt one section of this book dragged on a little too long (the HBW part underground) overall I find this a good read from Murakami. The End of the World sections were espcially evocative. I merely wish that I had the time to re-read this work so that I could better appreciate it.

Review by
5

This novel pulled me in and held me spellbound, occupying that favored niche known as my night book—the one I read for 15-45 minutes before falling asleep. I prefer good fiction as my eyes fail and I grow tired. This story is not easy to characterize, being part science-fiction, part mystery, part existentialist drama, and part psychological thriller. What more could one ask for from a novel, really? Murakami, who my 20-year-old daughter has been pushing on me with wild enthusiasm already for a couple of years, is a brilliant prose writer, and the translation from Japanese by Alfred Birnbaum must be great because it’s taut, whimsical, ironic, and pointed. If any previous book I read came to mind it was Phillip K. Dick’s “Through a Scanner Darkly,” not because the stories are really similar, but because this book is the only other one I’ve read that really gets inside a brain that is completely halved itself. I can hardly imagine such a schizoid reality; in Dick’s novel it’s brutal and painful and hard to take. In Murakami’s it’s funny and amazing, hard to believe but weirdly hopeful too.Something about the tone of this novel kept reminding me the author is Japanese, but then around ¾ of the way through it, that finally fell away, only to re-emerge when the final scenes unfold in Tokyo. I’m pretty ignorant when it comes to the daily experiences and psychological worlds of contemporary Japanese (or any other era, for that matter) so I often found myself wondering if this book reflected that or not. Probably not, because Murakami is clearly a virtuoso, an imaginative genius, and like all great writers, captures a certain universal “truth” about our condition. This is my first full novel of his, though I recall reading a New Yorker story a year ago or so. That was rather more somber than this novel, which is occasionally hilarious, but mostly utterly absorbing. But I’ll be voraciously going through his writings now. I’m really intrigued to check out his nonfiction. He apparently wrote a book on the Sarin gas suicide cult that attacked the subway system. Another real-life metaphor for larger dynamics I suppose.Anyway, top rating for this one.

Review by
4

Quite a beautifully-written novel, it's a fascinating take on how the mind works. It may be a bit confusing to read at some parts, but it's presents not only a great story, but also an interesting idea. As in Murakami's other novels, there's also a good dose of surrealism and a feast for the senses -- particularly food and music! A wonderful read!

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