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Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World
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Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World

4.15 of 5 stars 4.15  ·  rating details  ·  48,975 ratings  ·  2,954 reviews
'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 follo ...more
Paperback, 400 pages
Published September 28th 2001 by Vintage (first published 1985)
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Norwegian Wood by Haruki MurakamiThe Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki MurakamiKafka on the Shore by Haruki MurakamiBattle Royale by Koushun TakamiHard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World by Haruki Murakami
Best Japanese Books
5th out of 391 books — 1,808 voters
Kafka on the Shore by Haruki MurakamiNorwegian Wood by Haruki MurakamiThe Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami1Q84 by Haruki MurakamiHard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World by Haruki Murakami
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5th out of 18 books — 496 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Apr 30, 2007 Andrew rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of Murakami or fans of duality/dichotomy
This is your brain (an egg). This is your brain on Murakami (an egg sprouting arms and legs and attempting to hump other eggs while doing the Electric Slide and attempting to save the world to a killer soundtrack).

If you like Murakami, you'll like it, although it doesn't blend the two twisted sides of Murakami's writing as well as a book like "Norwegian Wood" or "Kafka on the Shore." In each of those novels, the reader gets transitions within chapters, and his talents for myth-telling in both t

Maybe you’ve heard it said before: in every joke there is a grain of truth. Well, as many of you may remember, I’ve been known to pick on Jay Rubin now and again for what I perceive to be his clunky translations of Murakami’s flawless prose. Because it couldn’t possibly be that Haruki is a clunky writer. Get that thought out of your head right now!! So I like to kid poor Jay and make him the scapegoat, but the more I think about it, the more validity I find in my little quips. You see, dear read
Whew, blew me away. The influences from Orwell and Kafka are clearly here. Existential meditations, amazingly imaginative, the multitude of interesting and important thoughts that can sprout from the reader's mind. The whole thing is pure genius.

"That's the way it is with the mind. Nothing is ever equal. Like a river, as it flows, the course changes with the terrain."

Typically, Murakami works his way through your subconscious, toying with recognitions of the past and future, in that magical stat
This is a complex novel, one that required two reads for me. It tells two stories in alternating chapters. In the first we meet a mild-mannered data processor, only all his "processing" is done inside his head. See... he can do this thing, or he had this thing done to him that allows him to access both hemispheres of his brain simultaneously yet separately. He gets recruited for some top-secret government project led by some mad scientist type, who lives holed up in a cave (under a waterfall) wi ...more
Stephen M
Right Brain

Upon the fields, yet of no snow,
frolic an acquiescence we yet to sow,
brilliant beasts, their golden fleece ready to unfurl,
trod this place, the end of the world.

Upon this fantasy, comes one of two
unnamed narrators who works in lieu
of status, volition; vagueness washes his mind,
all Kafkaesque, he becomes a dream-reading blind.

On a lost elevator in the counterpart plane
all events are concurrent and faintly the same;
the dyadic complement of the twin conscious
is a tech-savvy tokyoite obs
The Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World gets my vote the most unique and frustrating book in the Murakami catalog. I got the feeling that there’s a little bit of the fan in Murakami in this text; his love of PK Dick, Vonnegut, etc. seems present, and I imagine passages of the book were great fun to write as a tribute, if you will, to his influences. However, the cold, metallic neurophysiology, whether accurate or not (I don’t know much about brain chemistry, so I can’t say one way or ...more
I'd previously read two Haruki Murakami novels, A Wild Sheep Chase, and After Dark, his earliest and most recent that have been translated into English, respectively. After hearing about how he was one of Japan's most beloved authors, I was really underwhelmed by those two offerings. Sheep was almost too bizarre to really appreciate, and After Dark was short and enjoyable, but nothing special. After reading Hardboiled Wonderland and the End of the World, however, I suddenly Got It.

The title refe
Glass-eyed, marbled prison stare,
Functionless form that with will
Would coldly rend limb from limb.
Toothy gates, e'er sealed against
What would gnash and tear, strongly
Aflow with the crimson blood
Of a savaged savage god.

Dooby, dooby, do.

No exit, the maze.
The jazz, it plays.
Dress yes, no stays.
Eat meat, greens graze.

Tunnel-tied dust interludes abound.

Fat girl wrangled.
Grandpa mangled.
Outside dangled.
Inside strangled.

Such are the days when the spring winds down.
K.D. Absolutely
Apr 02, 2011 K.D. Absolutely rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to K.D. by: Dra. Ranee
Shelves: asian, sci-fi
This is an OK Murakami. My 8th and still counting. I will always admire his imagination, creativity and passion in writing. He will always be in my Top 10 Favorite Novelists list. But I am rating this as an OK book. Not my favorite Murakami. The reason? It just did not excite me.

Since I became an voracious reader and that happened partly because of Goodreads, I only religiously watch two shows: news (whichever I catch upon coming back home at night) and American Idol. Reading Hard-boiled Wonderl
"Some books are fast and some are slow, but no book can be understood if it is taken at the wrong speed"
Mark Van Doren [ ]

"Hard Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World" is captivating novel comprised of two disparate narratives, which bleed into each other. The gradual convergence of these story-lines, although it does not exactly pull an attentive reader up short, does have some dramatic effect on the perception of the story as a whole. In other words
Stephen P
Stepped at times past the wavering border of absurdity for me. Most of the time Murakami hangs onto just enough plausibility and his brew shines and goes down smooth. That old Murakami magic I wait for, that unexplained lucidity rising to the surface. But this time he barely missed. I rooted for him, out loud-Come on baby-you can do it-you're almost there-pull me into the story. When a writer like him barely misses a lot of pieces shatter on the floor and it becomes work for me to paste them tog ...more
Jan 11, 2013 Kay rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people willing to suspend reality
Recommended to Kay by: a white rabbit
Some people, myself included, just don't completely get Murakami. His storytelling style is in turns psychedelic and wildly unrestrained, but also carefully directed. It works for some people, and it falls miserably short for others.

There is so much contention on what Murakami's "best" and "worst" novels are. One person will claim one novel completely turned him off Murakami, while others will point to that same novel as what drew them to Murakami in the first place.

What I can really draw from
T.D. Whittle
So here’s the thing about Haruki Murakami that turns my brain into fairy floss: how is it that this 60ish Japanese guy writes in such a way that I feel he is exploring not only his own psychic underworld, but also mine? (I should mention here that I am not likewise a 60ish Japanese guy.) Given his rampant popularity across cultures, I am assuming I am not the only one who has this experience. His fans seem to return to him like … Well, like whatever the 2013 version of a crack whore returning to ...more
Eh? What the hell was that?

My first thought upon finishing this, my first Murakami book. A few hours later it hit me like a delayed reaction that I just read something very cool. In retrospect Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World is no weirder than something like PKD’s Ubik or China Miéville's The City and the City but it does have its own brand of weirdness and whimsy. The plot and narrative style of this book is like a combination of PKD’s reality bending shenanigan, Neil Gaiman’s w
Another amazing novel by Haruki Murakami. The book is actually two stories told in alternating chapters: "Hardboiled Wonderland" is a Chandleresque science fiction detective tale about a sort of cyber-empath that is caught between two factors, The System and The Factory which are fighting for dominance. "The End of the World" is a Kafka influenced fantasy about a town in which unicorns exists and the inhabitants are separated from their shadows. The main protagonist comes to this world with no m ...more
I'm speechless, and I can bet professor didn't cut my sound off, but that's a whole other story, except that it actually isn't.

This is Murakami at his best. I've now read the majority of his major works, being this, doubtlessly, his foremost. Well, I won't lie, saying that I didn't roll my eyes out of exasperation and annoyance whilst reading the first chapters with all of these particularly unfamiliar characters. The basic thoughts of 'oh-my-god-not-this-I'm-a-middle-aged-guy-caught-in-the-midd
I have a long history with Murakami. I first read him about eleven years ago. I read The Elephant Vanishes, and loved it. Then I read a couple more. I don't remember the order: Dance Dance Dance, A Wild Sheep Chase, South of the Border West of the Sun, maybe a couple more. I loved them all. Then I tried Wind-Up Bird Chronicles and I just hit a wall. I had finally overdosed on Murakami. I couldn't get into it no matter how I tried, even though I didn't see anything objectively wrong with the book ...more
Althea Ann
This month’s post-apocalyptic book club selection.

Regardless of ‘the end of the world’ in the title, this is not actually a post-apocalyptic story. It is, however, a remarkably excellent novel.

The narrative is divided into two sections – in one, a young man works as a Calcutec, able to do feats of cryptography in his head. At a surreal job interview/assignment, he meets a pretty plump woman in pink and her mad-scientist grandfather. Gradually, we realize that his is not a wholly natural ability
Jennifer (aka EM)
May 25, 2010 Jennifer (aka EM) rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jennifer (aka EM) by: Ben
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Some vases, some situations, some emptiness, some longing, some fulfillment, some musings, some randomness, some music, some sex, some eating, some reading, some sleeping, some driving, some climbing, some INKlings, some organizations, some Turgenev, some Dylan, some water, some snow, some pink, some cassettes, some underthings, some deviance, some sincerity, some e.d.

All these ingredients, all the praise, I may've put too much weight on Murakami's shoulders. M is a big fan of Raymond Carver, on
Golden Beasts. Calcutecs. Dream-readers. Breached encryption systems. Consciousness. Sentient Shadows. Unconsciousness. Scientists. Libido. Infra-nocturnal Kappas. End of the World. Is this making sense yet?


No? That’s OK. I didn’t think so either. It’s guess it’s supposed to be bizarre and surreal. I have to give it to the man, though. Murakami is the only writer (so far) to hold my interest while simultaneously throwing me in the middle of a lab maze. I’ll c
Lori (Hellian)
Rating to come.

First impressions on finishing:

I found this book so different than anything else Murakami has written. Oh yeah, it's Murakami all right - the aloneness and isolation of people, the stillness even in the craziness of what's going on. But this one was foreboding, very heavy as in pressure building in my brain while reading. For some reason it was very hard for me to read, not in the actual process of reading which was very flowing and simple, but it made me feel like I wanted to imp
Apr 25, 2013 David rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Calcutecs, librarians, chubby girls in pink
This is my fourth Murakami. The first one I read was Norwegian Wood, which is often called his most "accessible" novel, I guess because it has no traces of the supernatural in it. I'd actually call this book the most accessible Murakami for genre readers, though: Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World comes close to being a "traditional" fantasy novel. It still has Murakami's dreamlike worlds, unexplained oddness that is simply accepted at face value (what the kids are calling "magical ...more
Oct 22, 2012 Rob rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
This book was just a mind-blowing read through and through. It's like packaged brain damage. In a good way.

--- upon 2nd read: ---
Obviously not as surprising on the second but equally potent. Great extended metaphor for mechanisms of learning and memory. And its craft does not diminish.

--- Murakami meta-commentary: ---
ALSO: Does anyone have any idea what is up with Murakami's apparent fascination with juvenile female supporting-perhaps-even-central plot characters? E.g., Dance Dance Dance ; e.g.,
Even better and heartbreaking-er the second time around.

Reading this for an essay series but I really want to review it as a book and not through the lens of a particular topic (and maybe I'll get around to doing so one of these days). This reminded me of everything I absolutely adore about Murakami.
For the Murakami fan, a great essay by him in today's Guardian about writing and running. A must read for the writer and runner.

Murakami is a rare type of writer for me. If one describe his novels, I would probably not be interested in them. But the thing is he is such a fantastic writer (as well as the translations) that one can't help but be caught up in the dual-narrative of his novels.

And not that strange my favorite Murakami is his one non-fiction bo
Venkat Satya
This is simply the best book I have ever read! I was hooked from the first page and drawn into the world of the narrator as subtly as one is drawn into a dream.This has been the first Murakami novel I have ever read, and I must say it is by far the best novel I have read in a long time ! I don't think it is right to simply attach a label like "cyberpunk" or "sci-fi" to the book, because I feel the psychological aspects of the journey of a man towards his inner self are the main focus of the book ...more
Honestly I picked this up again because I'd just gone through a string of disappointing books and I wanted something that I knew would be not only awesome, but something I could sink my teeth into for awhile, so that I wouldn't have to choose my next book for many days. It had absolutely nothing to do with the fact that I won't read 1Q84 until it comes out in paperback and am jonesing for some Murakami. Nothing at all.
This book contains (view spoiler).

João Carlos
"O Impiedoso País das Maravilhas e o Fim do Mundo" é uma viagem fantástica a dois "mundos" e a duas narrativas que se desenvolvem em paralelo e em capítulos alternados, percorrendo cenários futuristas e fantasmagóricos, repletos de símbolos e simbologias.
Uma escrita perfeita, límpida e poética, inventiva e alucinante, com múltiplas referências à música, à literatura, à filosofia, à ciência, ao cinema e a tudo o que a imaginação ilimitada do Haruki Murakami abrange.
Sonhos e memórias i
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Haruki Murakami f...: Hard-boiled Wonderland and the End of the World 44 515 Nov 03, 2014 03:44PM  
Radio Patio: El fin del mundo y un despiadado país de las maravillas de Haruki Murakami 25 89 Jul 30, 2014 03:29AM  
Haruki Murakami f...: Short Story: Back to Hard-boiled Wonderland 1 22 Jun 15, 2014 04:36AM  
Inception 3 204 Nov 29, 2013 05:48AM  
Map of the End of the World 2 118 Sep 03, 2013 11:35AM  
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Haruki Murakami (Japanese: 村上 春樹) is a popular contemporary Japanese writer and translator. His work has been described as 'easily accessible, yet profoundly complex'. He can be located on Facebook at:

Since childhood, Murakami has been heavily influenced by Western culture, particularly Western music and literature. He grew up reading a range of works by Am
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