Tuesday 19 May 2020

Book Review: Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World by Murakami Haruki (Contemporary/Magical Realism)

Title: Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World
Author: Murakami Haruki
Publication Date: 2011 (1985)
Contemporary/Magical Realism
Bought Copy


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. 

I would posite that Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World is one of the quirkiest of Murakami's novels, and since they are all quirky, that's saying something! This book begins as what appears to be two separate stories alternating chapters. It's only around two-thirds through that the connection between them becomes clear. I found both narratives entertaining, and though I did finish the book wondering what on earth I'd just read, I did so in a positive way, rather than a negative one. On the whole, I reckon this is a work that will offer more on repeat readings. I think you'd take away new details from it each time. Highly recommended for established Murakami fans, but this is probably not the best one to start with if you are new to his writing and don't know what to expect.

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