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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: A Novel (Vintage… (original 1985; edition 1993)

by Haruki Murakami

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6,451123597 (4.13)226
Member:tibobi
Title:Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World: A Novel (Vintage International)
Authors:Haruki Murakami
Info:Vintage (1993), Paperback, 416 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:None

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

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» See also 226 mentions

English (112)  French (4)  Spanish (3)  Dutch (2)  Italian (1)  German (1)  All languages (123)
Showing 1-5 of 112 (next | show all)
My favorite Murakami novel. Poetic and hallucinogenic at the same time, the protagonist whose job is being a 'dreamreader' carries data locked in his head, but, unlike William Gibson's cyberpunk novel Johnny Mnemonic, the secrets are accessible, encoded in a subconscious dream-world, 'the town', with stolen shadows and mystical beasts. The novel alternates chapters of this enigmatic and ominous subconscious world with the bizarre techno espionage thriller of the conscious world. Strange and beautiful. ( )
  jkwouden | Sep 15, 2014 |
This was interesting but ultimately confusing and unsatisfying for me.

The story is set in Japan but as far as I can tell the year is never specified. My guess is right around the current year (2014) but there weren't any references to current events that dated it.

What was strange to me was all the references to Americana. I never understood if the main character was American or Japanese or something else. To add to that I was listening to this on audio and the voices sounded very American English. So the old man scientist sounded like someone from Georgia or Alabama.

I heard that a lot of hipsters are into Murakami so I'm not sure if that influenced me but the novel did feel rather pretentious. The Bob Dylan and Tolstoy references felt a little forced.

I found the adventures in the "end of the world" pretty boring, though I was obviously curious about how things worked and why they worked that way, but it didn't do a lot for me.

So in the end it didn't really work as a metaphor or an adventure for me. It didn't touch me with life insights and it didn't dazzle me with beautiful passages. Probably my last Murakami.

----------------SPOILER----------
As a lover of big women I was also really disappointed that he expressed an interest in the chubby girl but then never "got with" her. Instead the skinny girl showed up and he completely forgot any attraction he had to the big girl. It seemed to play out the unfairness that plays out everyday for big girls (unless I'm the main character). ( )
  ragwaine | Aug 19, 2014 |
This is like the show *Lost*, interesting beginning, horrible stretch to the end. Eventually, there is little meaning at the end. I think Murakami had a wonderful idea, but he got lost at the end. There is some lingering philosophy at the end, but the plot holes and the convenient mysteries aren't that forgiving.

I can't believe I just compared a Murakami book to *Lost*. ( )
  TJWilson | Jul 24, 2014 |
As much as I really enjoyed this, I also had no idea what the heck happened for most of it. The near future Tokyo with the brain data-scramblers and the End of the World town with unicorns. Eventually I saw how the two story lines came together and it was all interesting but then what happened? The main character (no one had a name), does he die? Is he just in a state of unconsciousness? Or the character in the town, if he had escaped, would that mean it wouldn't happen? What is the shadow, is that the part of the brain in the real world? Was I supposed to understand the accordian? But I ended up, strangely enough, really liking it. It didn't bother me that I wasn't actually understanding much of it.
  amyem58 | Jul 3, 2014 |
I first read Hard-Boiled Wonderland . . . back in 2003, at which time I listed it as one of my Best Reads for that year and would probably have given it 5 stars if goodreads had existed 7 years ago. This time around, I still really enjoyed the novel, but with a few reservations. Here's what I wrote back in 2003: The central character here is a “calcutec” whose conscious self becomes uncoupled from and supplanted by his unconscious self due to some experimental machinations by the Professor. The plot is inventive, or I should say both plots are inventive. Strange as they are, I found all of the characters in both worlds to be fully realized. I like one reviewer’s description of the Wonderland narrative as at first fast-paced like an adventure novel while the End of the World narrative is static, dream-like. As both stories progress, speed reverses so that Wonderland slows down when the narrator lives out his last day in the mind that he has always known to be his waking consciousness while the End of the World speeds up. Murakami’s is a fresh take on the old cliché, “I’m losing my mind” or “I’m going out of my mind.”

This time around, I was much less convinced by the character of the Professor with his garbled theories, his ethics-free experiments in consciousness engineering on human subjects and his annoyingly transcribed speech anomalies (this last may be a translation problem, but it drove me nuts). In contrast to the professor, who runs away from every mess he creates (at first to an underground lab and finally, to Finland)the calcutec/ dreamreader, the "hero" of both tales, decides to take responsibility for the End of the World, with its inhabitants and its beasts that resemble unicorns, that his core consciousness created.

The lesson learned might well be that memory is the key to the mind and that love (and music)just might unlock (lost) memory.




( )
  Paulagraph | May 25, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 112 (next | show all)
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 (28 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Haruki Murakamiprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Birnbaum, AlfredTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Camp, Marion Op denTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ortmanns, AnnelieTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Winter, Maxim deTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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First words
The elevator continued its impossibly slow ascent.
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
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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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

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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:25:33 -0400)

(see all 3 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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