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Hard-boiled Wonderland and the End of the…
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Hard-boiled Wonderland and the End of the World (original 1985; edition 2001)

by Haruki Murakami

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
7,024141515 (4.14)262
Member:LornaR
Title:Hard-boiled Wonderland and the End of the World
Authors:Haruki Murakami
Info:Vintage (2001), Edition: New edition, Paperback, 416 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:fiction, mystery, Japan

Work details

Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World by Haruki Murakami (1985)

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» See also 262 mentions

English (129)  French (5)  Spanish (3)  Dutch (2)  Italian (1)  German (1)  All languages (141)
Showing 1-5 of 129 (next | show all)
I think I really, really liked this. Or perhaps I hated it. I'm of two minds. But then so was our protagonist, which made him very special and very much in danger. When the forces of darkness and of the System came after him, he luckily could retreat and hide, in his other mind.

Maybe fantasy, maybe science fiction, maybe mystery, possibly coming of age, definitely enthralling. Highly recommended. ( )
  debs913 | Apr 2, 2016 |
Sean Barrett, Oliver Le Sueur
  jmail | Mar 21, 2016 |
Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World by Haruki Murakami, translated by Alfred T. Birnbaum, is one hard novel to describe. Kirkus Reviews calls it an elegiac allegory, which barely touches on it's attributes. It is an elaborate post-modern novel that is part cyberpunk science fiction and part film noir crime novel.

Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World follows two stories, told in altering chapters which are seemingly alternate universes. Eventually the two alternating universes connect.

One part is set in Tokyo sometime in the future where the narrator is a Calcutec, who works for The System. He launders and shuffles data. He's been hired to do a top secret job for a professor whose lab is underground where he has to hide from the carnivorous INKlings, not to mention the competing info organization, the Semiotecs. These chapters feature references to whiskey, pop-culture, old American movies, music, as well as lots of astute comments and nimble wordplay.

The alternate chapters feature a dreamreader who is living in a walled city surrounded by grazing unicorns. He has been separated from his shadow which is not allowed in the city. Attended to by the librarian, his job is to read dreams found in unicorn skulls in the library, but he can't help but wonder about his disconnect to his emotions and memory since he came to this town.

Murakami won the Tanizaki Literary prize (the Japanese equivalent of the Pulitzer) for Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World. This is a well written novel teeming with ideas and styles that seem incongruent at first (crime novel vs. fantasy) but eventually it all begins to makes some sense. It has an underlying complexity, which makes it one of those novels that requires some time to process all the ideas.

Highly Recommended

The first Murakami novel I read, 1Q84, also had an alternate reality.

Quote:
Once again, life had a lesson to teach me: It takes years to build up, it takes moments to destroy. pg. 187



( )
  SheTreadsSoftly | Mar 21, 2016 |
Prilično konfuzno počinje. Pripovjedač dolazi u neku zgradu s uredima, čuudi se sporosti lifta, dočekuje ga mlđa žena i upućuje na spuštanje u rijeku do njezina djeda. "Što se ovdje zbiva? Ormar u uredskoj zgradi na čijem dnu zjapi riječna provalija? I to baš usred Tokija!"
  rosenrot | Feb 19, 2016 |
This month’s post-apocalyptic book club selection.

Regardless of ‘the end of the world’ in the title, this is not actually a post-apocalyptic story. It is, however, a remarkably excellent novel.

The narrative is divided into two sections – in one, a young man works as a Calcutec, able to do feats of cryptography in his head. At a surreal job interview/assignment, he meets a pretty plump woman in pink and her mad-scientist grandfather. Gradually, we realize that his is not a wholly natural ability, and that the reason he can do his work may turn out to have not-so-benign repercussions.

Meanwhile, in another (even-more-surreal) world, another young man has just been admitted to a walled town called The End of The World. In order to enter, he must agree to be separated from his shadow, which is doomed to die a slow death without him. In this passive, circumscribed place, everyone seems to be afflicted by amnesia; they have no “mind” (a term used in a way which might seem to more closely approximate what people often refer to as “soul.) He is assigned to a job: ‘reading’/releasing the dreams of dead unicorns from their skulls.

It is quickly clear to the reader that there is some strange and intimate connection between the protagonists of these two stories. Each embarks on a kind of quest: the first a physical trek through sewers, pursued by Morlock-like “INKlings,” the second an intellectual journey through research, mapping, and an attempt to remember. At stake for both? The world itself? – or the individual’s conscious existence in the world?

The nature of their connection is only gradually revealed, in a masterfully crafted and intricately formatted tale full of symbolism, which explores the ideas of conscious and subconscious, and the nature of identity.
( )
  AltheaAnn | Feb 9, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 129 (next | show all)
Ein Parzival aus Japan: Warum »Hard-boiled Wonderland und Das Ende der Welt« Haruki Murakamis bester Roman ist
 
He has become the foremost representatives of a new style of Japanese writing: hip, cynical and highly stylized, set at the juncture of cyberpunk, postmodernism, and hard-boiled detective fiction.... Murakami [is] adept at deadpan wit, outrageous style.
added by GYKM | editLos Angeles Times Magazine
 
Murakami's bold willingness to go straight over the top [is] a signal indication of his genius... a world-class writer who has both eyes open and takes big risks.
added by GYKM | editWashington Post Book World
 

» Add other authors (27 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Haruki Murakamiprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Birnbaum, AlfredTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Camp, Marion Op denTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gall, JohnCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ortmanns, AnnelieTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Winter, Maxim deTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Why does the sun go on shining?
Why do the birds go on singing?
Don't they know it's the end of the world?

The End of the World (Sylvia Dee/Arthur Kent)
Dedication
First words
The elevator continued its impossibly slow ascent.
Elevatoren var på vej op i ekstremt langosmt tempo. Eller det forestillede jeg mig i det mindste. Jeg var ikke sikker. Det gik så langsomt, at jeg havde mistet orienteringen. Det kunne lige så godt være, at den var på vej ned, eller at den slet ikke bevægede sig.
Quotations
But on the phenomenological level, this world is only one out of countless possibillities. As you create memories, you're creatin' a parallel world
...I walked right into her backside. It was wonderfully cushioning, like a firm rain cloud.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Publisher series
Information from the Catalan Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
From Library Journal
The last surviving victim of an experiment that implanted the subjects' heads with electrodes that decipher coded messages is the unnamed narrator of this excellent book by Murakami, one of Japan's best-selling novelists and winner of the prestigious Tanizaki prize. Half the chapters are set in Tokyo, where the narrator negotiates underground worlds populated by INKlings, dodges opponents of both sides of a raging high-tech infowar, and engages in an affair with a beautiful librarian with a gargantuan appetite. In alternating chapters he tries to reunite with his mind and his shadow, from which he has been severed by the grim, dark "replacement" consciousness implanted in him by a dotty neurophysiologist. Both worlds share the unearthly theme of unicorn skulls that moan and glow. Murakami's fast-paced style, full of hip internationalism, slangy allegory, and intrigue, has been adroitly translated. Murakami is also author of A Wild Sheep Chase ( LJ 10/15/89); his new work is recommended for academic libraries and public libraries emphasizing serious contemporary fiction.
- D.E. Perushek, Univ. of Tennessee, Knoxville
Haiku summary
Birds fly overhead
Golden beasts graze in the town
INKlings worship... fish?

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0679743464, Paperback)

Japan's most widely-read and controversial writer, author of A Wild Sheep Chase, hurtles into the consciousness of the West with this narrative about a split-brained data processor, a deranged scientist, his shockingly undemure granddaughter, and various thugs, librarians, and subterranean monsters--not to mention Bob Dylan and Lauren Bacall.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:07:06 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

The last surviving victim of an experiment that implanted the subjects' heads with electrodes that decipher coded messages is the unnamed narrator. Half the chapters are set in Tokyo, where the narrator negotiates underground worlds populated by INKlings, dodges opponents of both sides of a raging high-tech infowar, and engages in an affair with a beautiful librarian with a gargantuan appetite. In alternating chapters he tries to reunite with his mind and his shadow, from which he has been severed by the grim, dark "replacement" consciousness implanted in him by a dotty neurophysiologist. Both worlds share the unearthly theme of unicorn skulls that moan and glow.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 5 descriptions

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