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Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  87,684 Ratings  ·  5,043 Reviews
Japan's most widely-read and controversial writer, author of A Wild Sheep Chase, hurtles into the consciousness of the West with this narrative about a split-brained data processor, a deranged scientist, his shockingly undemure granddaughter, and various thugs, librarians, and subterranean monsters--not to mention Bob Dylan and Lauren Bacall.


From the Trade Paperback editio
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Kindle Edition, 416 pages
Published (first published 1985)
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Junta I recently read a collection of his essays, 'Novelist as Profession', published in Japan in 2015 (it might be a while before it's translated into…moreI recently read a collection of his essays, 'Novelist as Profession', published in Japan in 2015 (it might be a while before it's translated into English) - the 9th chapter is on characters.

Although the answers submitted to this question are all valid, there is another simple reason mentioned in that chapter (my translation):
"I was okay with nicknames like 'The Rat' or 'J', but I just couldn't set proper names for the characters. Why not? I'm not sure myself, and can only say that I was embarrassed about naming people. I'm not sure how to put it, but it seemed somewhat artificial for someone like me to be freely designating names onto people (even if they were fictional characters I created).
The first time I was able to properly name characters was in 'Norwegian Wood' (1987). So, in the first eight years before that, I was using nameless characters and writing in the first person view. Thinking about it, it seems I was limiting myself with a tedious rule, but I didn't give it a second thought then."

tl;dr this novel was published in 1985, before Norwegian Wood when he started naming characters.(less)
Rion
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Andrew
Apr 30, 2007 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
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Jenn(ifer)

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
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Kenny
Aug 20, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5/5 Buddy read with my friend Srđan.

Unclose your mind. You are not a prisoner. You are a bird in fight, searching the skies for dreams.
― Haruki Murakami, Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World


1

There is so much to say about Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World, I'm just not certain I'm the one to say it. I was never able to quite connect with the characters or the plot on an emotional level. Part of the problem is that Murakami attempts to blend so many many different lite
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Florencia
Feb 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: japanese
And I couldn't be any other self but my self. Could I?

There is always a possibility.

In the summer of 1962, a poet wrote a song that would later become the last hymn to be heard as the end of the world approached. That is the song I chose to be my companion while writing another non-review; a song that is being followed closely by the mellifluous gusts of wind that break the silence of this monochromatic night.
Being my first Murakami, quite frankly, I didn't know what to expect. This is, witho
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Ahmad Sharabiani
Sekai no owari to hādoboirudo wandārando = Hard-boiled wonderland and the end of the world, Haruki Murakami
Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World (Sekai no owari to hādo-boirudo wandārando) is a 1985 novel by Japanese writer Haruki Murakami. The English translation by Alfred Birnbaum was released in 1991. A strange and dreamlike novel, its chapters alternate between two bizarre narratives—"Hard-Boiled Wonderland" (a cyberpunk-like, science fiction part) and "The End of the World" (a vi
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Ben
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
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Kristin Myrtle
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
Matthias
May 30, 2012 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?

Yes.

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
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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
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RandomAnthony
Feb 18, 2009 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
Jr Bacdayan
May 30, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
You’re taking a shower. Two streams fall onto you at the same time. One stream is cold and revitalizing while the other is hot and soothing. One’s heat fills the room with a foggy mist while the other clears your head driving it awake with its coldness. Each one supplements the other and the effect creates an experience more complete than had the two not been together. An icy torrent showing how crystal clear things are, and a scorching torrent enveloping things with a blanket of moisture, both ...more
Michael
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
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K.D. Absolutely
Dec 16, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  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
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Brooke
Sep 09, 2007 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
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Tara
Mar 24, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
“More often than not I’ve observed that convenient approximations bring you closest to comprehending the true nature of things.”

3.5 stars. Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World’s strange, playful investigation into the complexities of the mind was innovative, thought-provoking and, quite often, utterly charming. Here dualism, which often runs the risk of oversimplification and hence of becoming uninspired (and ultimately uninteresting), instead functioned in a manner that was both en
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Szplug
Oct 11, 2011 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.
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 eventually warm to the characters in both storylines (told in alternating chapters) and I found the ending skilfully crafted and satisfying. With Murakami you're not always sure where it’s all going, but the journey's always an interesting one.

If I were to liken it to anything I’ve read before it would be Man in the Dark,
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Forrest
Dec 10, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I cannot provide a more succinct and excellent summary of the plot of Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World than Michael has provided. Nor would I wish to try to describe the plot. It is classic Murakami, which means that several disparate elements are fused together in a surreal totality that somehow works. This may have more to do with the mind's attempt to fuse together disjointed pieces, filling in any logical gaps with its own concoctions, than the intention of the writer. Yes, Mu ...more
vivliovision
Aug 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

keep in touch: https://twitter.com/vivliovision

"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 [ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_Van... ]

"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
...more
Lou
Jun 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Each time I read a Murakami novel, I realise just how much I love him. By far my favourite author, I adore the lengths he goes to to describe everything in precise detail. His books are definitely made to be read slowly and to savour - so that you can drink in all of the minute details. There is no other author who writes in such a beautiful way, sometimes you can go for pages and pages with nothing really happening but you read on as the writing is incredible. Such a unique author. I will never ...more
Apatt
Mar 02, 2014 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
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João Carlos
Mar 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: l2014, 2014best, favorites

Illustration by E. K. Harper

Terminei...
"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
...more
Michela De Bartolo
Unicorni , mura invalicabili Tokyo, caos e vite parallele. Questo rappresenta il romanzo di Murakami, tra il fantasy e il romanzo realistico . Immersi in atmosfere oniriche , personaggi paradossali , paesi strani e creature bizzarre. La storia scorre su due binari , il primo mondo è il paese delle meraviglie che in realtà rappresenta la grande Tokyo. Troviamo il protagonista, senza nome , che svolge la mansione di Cibermatico ed è a causa di questo lavoro che verrà coinvolto in una folle ricerca ...more
Erwin
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.
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
Kay
Jan 22, 2012 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
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Tintin
Feb 02, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
STORY:
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?

<.........>description

WRITING STYLE:
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
...more
Terry Calafato
May 05, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebook, eventi-gdl, to-buy
Il mio terzo Murakami.
Sempre più surreale.

In una Tokio che non è proprio la nostra (distopica? del futuro?) il protagonista - di cui non conosceremo mai il nome - è un Cibermatico, ossia una sorta di computer umano. A lui compete il complicato processo dello shuffling, una sorta di codificazione di dati che permette di metterli al sicuro da ipotetici ladri. E a lui si rivolge uno stravagante scienziato, che compie misteriosi studi sul suono.
Diviso tra il Sistema (una organizzazione pseudo-govern
...more
Maryam
Oct 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
مترجم در مقدمه کتاب می نویسد: داستان های موراکامی در عین اینکه بین واقعیت و ناواقعیت می لغزد، مرزهای سیال بین این دو را گسترش می دهد. از غم و اندوه و فقدان و گم گشتگی در هیاهوی دنیای مدرن حرف می زند و در جست و جوی موقعیت و هویت و مقام خود و انسان در وضع حاضر است. در این دنیای پرآشوب و سرشار از فجایع و شناعت، انسانیت وآزادی ورهایی را می جوید و ماهرانه بین خیال و واقعیت بندبازی می کند و سالم به زمین می رسد

قسمتی از کتاب
کف زمین خاکی است و رطوبت اتاق توام با سرماست. سایه ام بی حرکت تو تختخواب خوابیده
...more
Mary
Jan 24, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, 2013, japan
This book contains (view spoiler).

Approximately.
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  • The Collected Poems
  • Palm-of-the-Hand Stories
  • The Ark Sakura
  • Haruki Murakami and the Music of Words
  • The Changeling
  • Naomi
  • Dear Diary
  • 69
  • My Misspent Youth: Essays
  • Runaway Horses
  • Alien vs. Predator
  • Quicksand and Passing
  • The Oxford Book of Japanese Short Stories
  • Out
  • Sanshirō
  • Kappa
61,330 followers
Murakami Haruki (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: https://www.facebook.com/harukimuraka...

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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“two people can sleep in the same bed and still be alone when they close their eyes” 949 likes
“Everyone may be ordinary, but they're not normal.” 430 likes
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