Christian McKay's Reviews > Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World

Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World by Haruki Murakami
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's review
Oct 21, 2008

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Read in October, 2008

I can't help but shake the feeling that a great portion of Haruki Murakami is weird for the sake of being weird. That isn't to say that some of it doesn't resonate wonderfully, pulling me into his strange world where I legitimately never know what's around the next corner. But I get exhausted reading it sometimes.

This book really lags in the middle. It's like watching The X-files or Lost and waiting for the enlightening explanation of what the hell is going on. And then it comes, and you're like, "Oh, that's it, huh?" I guess the real killer is I have that knee jerk reaction at times: I could probably write something better than this.

One thing that really intrigued me was the idea of placing an entire encyclopedia onto a toothpick. Start by converting the letters into numbers: A=01 B=02, etc. spaces=00. Lay those numbers side by side to spell out words and sentences, and then place a decimal point at the beginning and call it a fraction of a centimeter. By marking a tiny line at that exact length on the toothpick, you've got your first entry, so long as you have a device that can read the exact measurement. The subsequent entries are simply the distances to the following lines. I realize this is impossible, software notwithstanding. My roommate reinforced this by saying the smallest form of measurement humans can form is ten to the negative twenty-sixth power, and even that's sketchy. But still, I thought it was exciting.

Match that with the usual charged sexuality, and horror-filled escapes, and there are some moments definitely worth reading.

I don't know how quickly I'll go leaping into the next Murakami world. He's a lot of build up, without the appropriate explosion at the end.
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