Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World” as Want to Read:
Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World

4.15  ·  Rating Details  ·  62,299 Ratings  ·  3,575 Reviews
In this hyperkinetic and relentlessly inventive novel, Japan’s most popular (and controversial) fiction writer hurtles into the consciousness of the West. Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World draws readers into a narrative particle accelerator in which a split-brained data processor, a deranged scientist, his shockingly undemure granddaughter, Lauren Bacall, Bob ...more
ebook, 416 pages
Published November 17th 2010 by Vintage (first published 1985)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

Junyu To me the lack of names creates an interestingly/mysteriously/annoyingly 'dreamy' feeling. It could be that, because the big topic of the book is…moreTo me the lack of names creates an interestingly/mysteriously/annoyingly 'dreamy' feeling. It could be that, because the big topic of the book is 'Identity'. The confusion about identity led to the separate of shadow and body in the imagery world. The character was wondering between his more sophisticated and purer self and could not make a decision until the very end. Names as a symbol of identities might be too arbitrary and simple in this case.
Getting rid of names might also help to build the structure of the book since the fact that the two 'I' were the same person was kind of revealed late in the book.(less)
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Apr 30, 2007 Andrew rated it really liked it  ·  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
Kristin Rose
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
Nov 06, 2009 RandomAnthony rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: murakami
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
Feb 05, 2008 Brooke rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2008, fantasy
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
Oct 12, 2011 Szplug rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
I’m sorry this one didn’t get on my radar sooner. It’s quintessential Murakami, blending genres in his signature weird and wonderful way—fantasy, sci fi, noir, fable, magical realism.

This novel from 1985 gives us a dystopia and a utopia for the price of one. In the former, our unnamed, thirty-something male protagonist works as a contracted Calcutec in Tokyo, a human encrypting device for the sanctioned espionage group, the System. Their main enemy in the “Infowar” are the Semiotecs, which serv
Sep 14, 2015 vivliovision rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

keep in touch:

"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 per
K.D. Absolutely
Apr 02, 2011 K.D. Absolutely rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to K.D. by: Dra. Ranee
Shelves: sci-fi, asian
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
Feb 07, 2016 Matthias rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, my-reviews
In the unlikely event that Haruki Murakami's name on the cover is not in some way a quality label to you, guaranteeing profoundly outlandish scenarios and magic, he threw in the term "wonderland" to make sure everyone knew what to expect. Does the story deliver on all the promises this wonderful title embodies?


I decided to re-visit this book after having read it around 3 years ago (before my reviewing habit kicked in) because I remembered it being an instant favorite but didn't remember why
João Carlos
Nov 10, 2015 João Carlos rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: l2014, favorites, 2014best

Illustration by E. K. Harper

"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
Mar 07, 2014 Apatt rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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 it was amazing  ·  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
Aug 24, 2011 Tintin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
A story to remember. Murakami is a great storyteller. I thoroughly enjoyed his two parrallel narratives. He makes the unbelievable, believable. I don't even care that after finishing the novel, he leaves me with the feeling that I need to reread this book once (or twice) to fully understand and appreciate it.
Nov 24, 2013 Nuno rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
This book contains (view spoiler).

Andrew Smith
A hard one to sum up: it's futuristic and surreal with two separate threads that eventually come together to make a cohesive whole. It took me a while to get into it but I did warm to the characters in both storylines (told in alternating chapters) and I found the ending clever and satisfying. I suppose it’s the way Murakami normally tells it: you’re not always sure where it’s all going but the journey is a pleasant one, nonetheless.

If I were to liken it to anything I’ve read before it would be
Jennifer (aka EM)
May 25, 2010 Jennifer (aka EM) rated it it was ok  ·  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.
Apr 16, 2013 Mark rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 15, 2016 Cher rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
4 stars - It was great. I loved it.

Two parallel stories, each with its own narrator and cast of nameless characters: "Hard-Boiled Wonderland" which was mainly sci-fi based, and "The End of the World" which was primarily fantasy based. Both stories are terrifically strange and weird.

Murakami has a unique style of telling a convoluted story in a simple way, a paradox in and of itself, which is fitting given that the novel has a steady stream of paradoxical themes. Reality vs Fantasy, Dystopia vs
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
Íris Santos
Pela primeira vez, se não me engano, leio um livro onde as personagens não têm nome próprio para além do que lhes é atribuído através do ponto de vista do personagem principal.

O personagem principal é um homem de 35 anos, divorciado, que leva uma vida atarefada a construir códigos informáticos para grandes empresas.
Um dia ele é chamado para um edifício estranho, onde demora 10 minutos a descer até ao subterrâneo num elevador, onde é atendido por uma rapariga de 17 anos - também ela uma personage
Jun 10, 2009 Marvin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 25, 2013 David rated it really liked it  ·  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
Aug 07, 2009 Lori rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
  • Alien vs. Predator
  • And Then
  • The Collected Poems
  • How's Your Drink?: Cocktails, Culture, and the Art of Drinking Well
  • Coin Locker Babies
  • Asleep
  • Thirst for Love
  • Kappa
  • The Makioka Sisters
  • The Master of Go
  • Secret Rendezvous
  • The Diving Pool: Three Novellas
  • Haruki Murakami and the Music of Words
  • Dear Diary
  • The Rachel Papers
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
More about Haruki Murakami...

Share This Book

“two people can sleep in the same bed and still be alone when they close their eyes” 813 likes
“Everyone may be ordinary, but they're not normal.” 385 likes
More quotes…