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

Hard-boiled Wonderland and the End of the World is a book by Haruki Murakami that I read a while ago in English, and I’ve recently reread in Spanish (my mother tongue). The first time I read it I got lost with so many metaphors and I didn’t like it that much. However, Pjorge advised me that it is one of those books that you enjoy more the second time you read it, and I decided to give it another chance. This time I enjoyed the read a lot more; I think it’s one of the best Murakami books. This time I was able to decipher many of the metaphors where I got lost the first time and I was able to have a better understanding of the connection between the two “worlds”.

As the name of the book suggests, the action in Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World is set in two completely different places. Part of the action is set in the “End of the World”, some kind of village where weird creatures live and which is visited by mysterious characters (the atmosphere of the village reminded me a lot of The Castle by Franz Kafka). On the other hand, the action in the “Hard-Boiled Wonderland” is set in the sewers and the tunnels of the Tokyo underground. It’s like Murakami had written two novels set in two completely different places and intertwined them masterfully in a single book. It is a book about: bones that talk, dreams, the connection between the subconscious and the conscious, self-discovery, computers, hackers, unicorns, monsters, dreams vs. reality, life and death, death is unavoidable and we have one life (shorter or longer) to accept it, the interconnection between places, people and events during our life.

Here are some quotes that grabbed my attention:

Your plain fat woman is fine. Fat women are like clouds in the sky. They’re just floating there, nothing to do with me.

You have to endure. If you endure, everything will be fine. No worry, no suffering. It all disappears. Forget about the shadow. This is the End of the World. This is where the world ends. Nowhere further to go.

We did thorough tracings of your cognitive systems. Then we made up simulations for storage in a main computer bank. We did it as a kind of insurance; you´d be stuck if anything happend t’you.

By the way, there is some people that says that the “INKlings” that appear on the book are kappas.

You can grab Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World at Amazon.

Other Haruki Murakami books:

4 Comments
  • XSportSeeker

    January 27, 2010 at 6:02 pm

    Got it a few days ago… will start reading pretty soon.
    Also worth mentioning that this book was one of the inspiration’s for the anime Haibane Renmei. 😀

  • oliphant

    January 27, 2010 at 7:36 pm

    I love this book because it is the most sci fi out of Murakami books, because his books about regular life is so other worldly, this one is more so.

  • OsakaGuy

    January 27, 2010 at 8:51 pm

    I hope you can go into more detail about these metaphors you deciphered. I had no clue what was going on, but my brain has little patience for taking apart complicated literature.

    I enjoyed The Windup Bird Chronicle much more. I found the mysterious elements to be more intriguing than annoying, but I was still a little frustrated at the end when much was unresolved. (As far as I know.)

  • XSportSeeker

    February 19, 2010 at 11:11 pm

    Finally finished the book, and I must say the end left me a little confused.
    Loved reading it though, but I ended up with some doubts about his shadow, the significance of “escaping” the end of the world, among few other things.

    Still, what a ride ’twas