Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World

Published June 9, 2009 by Graham


Haruki Murakami is perhaps the most well-known Japanese author in the West, revered for novels like Norwegian Wood, Kafka on the Shore, and The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle. His informal, subdued musings about life in an alienating globalized society are accented by a unique flair for magical realism– expertly weaving together ruminations on pop songs and healthy living with understated odes to human loneliness and casual asides about telepathic cats, supernaturally irresistible earlobes, and impossibly insidious corporate conspiracies.

Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World is a beautiful, but less popular novel of Murakami’s– perhaps because it amplifies the dualistic nature of his work, taking his pension for juxtaposing fantasy and reality to its logical extreme. Telling two separate but linked stories through alternating chapters, the author switches between the mundane, scientific world of data processing and a chimerical universe with a surplus of unicorns. While the jarring contrast can be off-putting for those unfamiliar with Murakami’s style, Hard-Boiled Wonderland just takes a little patience to reveal a complex, grown-up version of themes familiar from childhood fables. Forging a vivid fantasy on a foundation of the real world’s emotional complexity, Murakami skilfully addresses the significance of dreams and abstraction in our banal, everyday lives under late capitalism.

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One comment so far

  1. Yasuyuki says:

    I just finished reading his new book: 1Q84.
    He tarckled on the theme he had been exploring for last 10 or so years and even though there were elements of his works, the book was… simply… pretty disappointing.

    It lacked build-up and characters… and depth…
    Like the problems I recently saw on TERMINATOR SALVATION

    Please don’t get me wrong. I love his works.
    And Kafka and Wind-Up Bird are deffinitly my favorite. (I love Sputnik too.)

    But this one…