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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 (Author)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
7,722153668 (4.13)1 / 296
Member:missrabbitmoon
Title:Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World: A Novel (Vintage International)
Authors:Haruki Murakami (Author)
Info:Vintage (1993), 416 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****1/2
Tags:authors of color, multiple storylines, japan, science fiction, magical realism, translated, surrealism, weird, unicorns, genre bending, cyberpunk, plot twists, mystery

Work details

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

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English (139)  French (5)  Dutch (3)  Spanish (3)  German (2)  Italian (1)  All languages (153)
Showing 1-5 of 139 (next | show all)
Different... but incredibly engaging. I couldn't put it down.
This was my first book from Murakami. I have been looking at his books for a couple of years now and finally got one. I'm most likely going to get another.

Murakami's writing is excellent. In this novel, he weaves together two tales. As the book goes on, the threads of similarity weave the two stories closer together.

My guess is that his writing won't be for everyone, but his edge of fantasy mixed with pop culture mixed with geeky science entertained me. ( )
  CYGeeker | Sep 6, 2018 |
This is quintessential Murakami -- disarmingly profound, surrealistically realistic, a fantasy novel disguised as a detective thriller that ends up being a meditation on the nature of mind. It all just works with the deceptive simplicity that's the trademark of Murakami's genius. As always, his straightforward prose serves as a foil for the delightful weirdness of the story. If you've never read a Murakami novel before, this would be an excellent place to start. I'm going to be thinking (and maybe dreaming) about this story for weeks. ( )
  wirehead | Sep 3, 2018 |
This book was recommended by a friend when I asked for books outside my comfort zone that I should read.

The conceit of this book, where it swaps between two rather fantastical stories, worked really well for me. I get that one of the stories was supposed to be 'contemporary' Japan, but there were enough weirdnesses, particularly on the part of the elderly scientist side character, that urban fantasy seems the most logical category. To begin with, I didn't follow what was going on with the two settings, and appreciated the slow reveal as to how they were connected.

Sadly, I did not really warm to either protagonist. Murakami's habit of not naming characters* didn't help there, because the kinds of epithets used in the descriptions of the characters felt forced. Given that this was a translation, I wondered how much of that was the translator being faithful to the original language, rather than choosing language that might have fit better to the poetry of the story. Both were just a bit too blokey, just a bit too weird about the women that they interacted with, and left me just a bit squicked for large parts of the story. As such, I read it in small sections.

The reading in small pieces didn't really matter in terms of the following of the story -- it is so disjointed, so frequently random, that not having remembered the details never seemed to matter.

In contrast to the characterisation and the story, I found the world-building fascinating and detailed. The second environment, a walled town that could not be left, where one's shadow is cut off and left outside die, was slowly illustrated as the protagonist learned about their new environment.

Do I recommend it? If you like complex noir urban fantasy, yes. If you like some amount of coherence in your story, some complexity in your characterisation, then no. Suspension of disbelief is not enough for this story.

* At some point during the reading of this story, I read an interview with Murakami, in which they talked about their difficulties with naming characters, and that to begin with they just didn't. My understanding is that this novel is part of that body of work, and thus it isn't a stylistic design to separate the reader and the characters. ( )
  fred_mouse | Jul 19, 2018 |
A slog. The Hard-Boiled Wonderland narrative killed The End of the World. ( )
  natcontrary | May 21, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 139 (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 (20 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Haruki Murakamiprimary authorall editionscalculated
Birnbaum, AlfredTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Camp, Marion Op denTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gall, JohnCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ortmanns, AnnelieTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ortsmanns, AnnelieTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stalph, JürgenTranslatorsecondary 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.)
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Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
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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 6 descriptions

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