Hard Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World: Book Review

"Most human activities are predicated on the assumption that life goes on. If you take that premise away, what is there left?"


Haruki Murakami explores this theme in the very strange but fascinating Hard Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World. Murakami draws readers into a "narrative particle accelerator in which a split-brained data processor, a deranged scientist, his undemure granddaughter, Bob Dylan, and various thugs, librarians, and subterranean monsters collide to dazzling effect."

The book is definitely a trip - taking you from the mind of a seemingly normal, nameless man who talks about mundane (but relatable things) such as couch shopping, to dealing with the Yakuza (mafia) and avoiding demons in the sewer.

What I enjoyed most was the immersive narrating with random details, and unraveling the mystery/how the storyline eventually made sense. Murakami adds such relatable notes of nostalgia- i.e. bringing up memories of how library books had the cards in front with dates stamped on them. Another great line was when the narrator talks about buying things and describes himself as a "natural born shopper."

Moments do a feel a bit stream of consciousness because each chapter can be so different from the last- from talking about mythical creatures and biology to Russian history. Murakami manages to tie everything together, along with some nice Western tributes: Bob Dylan as well as jazz classics. Another area that Murakami excels at is tuning the reader into various senses - from unpleasant sensations such as the loss of sound or suspecting an ominous creature nearby, to the relaxing rainfall or whiskey washing down your throat.

If you're into exploring human consciousness, indulge in moments of nostalgia, or the idea of confronting the end of the world- then read this book. It's not just a crazy adventure, but also a reminder to appreciate the little things in life.

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