Read hard boiled wonderland and the end of the world by Haruki Murakami Alfred Birnbaum Online

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'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'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 following. Tracking one man's descent into the Kafkaesque underworld of contemporary Tokyo, Murakami unites East and West, tragedy and farce, compassion and detachment, slang and philosophy.'...

Title : hard boiled wonderland and the end of the world
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 10374
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 400 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

hard boiled wonderland and the end of the world Reviews

  • Andrew
    2019-06-13 22:51

    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 the mystical and mundane worlds is woven together like two different colored pieces of yarn, fraying and blending at the end. A depressed hippy juggles his daily life - student and record-store shop employee who occasionally trolls for women with his amoral college roommate - with his intensely personal life - a boy growing into a man, learning about love, heartbreak and death. A talking cat accompanies a small boy on his adventures, the boy eating a lot of diner food and not really doing much but hanging out at the library. These are the things you get with Murakami, but they usually coexist fairly nicely, driving toward a space where fantasy and reality decide to have a nice conversation."Hard Boiled Wonderland And The End Of The World" is aptly titled, because it really is two separate stories - the "And" is paramount - they are woven together, but more like two noodles can be woven together, but never quite mesh. Oddly, the formal structure of the book - one chapter in reality, one chapter in myth - lends itself to reading the two stories as each lending to the other, but one could almost (until the very end) read each one as independent of the other. Murakami's "reality" is far-flung and outlandish, but it obeys its own rules, and takes the reader for a nice tragic ride. The "myth" is much more prosaic and sedate, but is clearly too serene to be reality. Perhaps it is Murakami's commentary on life: truth is stranger than fiction, especially when the fiction is based on the truth is based on the fiction...The novel could be an ouroboros, but instead it is a little like the hospital symbol of a serpent wrapped about a knife. To understand this, read the book. I can't describe it any better than this. It gets a four, because it's frankly a little too self-reflexive for me - no main character should really ever say, "Stuff like this only happens in novels," as far as I'm concerned - but it is a stylistic precursor to Murakami's most famous and best work (that I've read), "Kafka on the Shore," so you get to see how Murakami's style evolves, a dualistic peek into the development of a dichotomous author.

  • Jenn(ifer)
    2019-06-03 19:48

    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 reader, MY top three favorite Murakami novels were translated by this guy:Alfred Birnbaum. Hmmm, coincidence? I’m not so sure…Translations aside, as I mentioned in my little place holder review, Murakami’s books are like comfort food for my soul. Let me explain this further. Like Haruki, I have a deep-seated love for music of all genres, and as a result I have a rather bloated music collection. Yet sometimes, for whatever reason, nothing I listen to pleases me. It is in these moments that I turn to Wilco. They never let me down. Something about the music is just so … cozy. It doesn't make me mopey; it doesn't pick at my scabs, trying to open a healing wound; it doesn't make me wallow in the murky waters of nostalgia. The music manages to contentedly complement whatever mood or psychic place I’m in. What does this have to do with Murakami? Well, I feel the same sort of cozy feeling when I read one of his novels. When the experimental fictions are crushing my brain or nothing else is really revving my engine, I pick up a Murakami novel and all is right with the world again. I know I’ll be treated to a delicious, savory meal, a blend of musical delights, many an otherworldly adventure, and a couple of romps in the sack. Better than any date I’ve had in years. KIDDING! (Or am I?)Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World was no exception. In fact, in what I’ve come to love about Murakami, it is the rule. Mind bending, thought provoking, dreamlike and just a little bit sexy. Oh, and did I mention? Unicorns! ......Once, when I was younger, I thought I could be someone else. I'd move to Casablanca, open a bar, and I'd meet Ingrid Bergman. Or more realistically - whether actually more realistic or not - I'd tune in on a better life, something more suited to my true self. Toward that end, I had to undergo training. I read The Greening of America, and I saw Easy Rider three times. But like a boat with a twisted rudder, I kept coming back to the same place. I wasn't anywhere. I was myself, waiting on the shore for me to return.Here’s a little Wilco song that feels right at home with a Murakami novel: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mgWJwx...

  • Florencia
    2019-06-04 00:10

    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, without a doubt, one of the most original novels I have read this year. And I can't only ascribe this notion to the creativity of the plot, since the variations of the language used to illustrate it were another element that left me quite impressed. I felt disconnected. Converting numbers in my brain was my only connection to the world. Most of my free time I chose to spend alone, reading old novels, watching old Hollywood movies on video, drinking. I had no need for a newspaper.For a moment, I walked out of the comfort zone provided by classics and plunged into the world of more contemporary expressions in which I still feel like a slightly awkward guest. Murakami's writing stirred my senses from beginning to end. It did justice to the concept that was always hovering over this story: the duality of things around us, the dichotomies within ourselves. For this is a book that includes two different worlds that may or may not coalesce into one single reality someday. The first world is “Hard-Boiled Wonderland”, where I found a peculiar voice; a somewhat stark, unvarnished writing. Words that tried to conceal the tiniest trace of emotional connection, congenitally unable to do otherwise. Detached words probably under the influence of an old pledge to keep distance from the world as a desperate attempt to protect themselves, to prevent their fragile system from blowing to smithereens. Words uttered by a narrator who was able to drink gallons of alcohol and then face inconceivably difficult situations and the most disgusting creatures ever, while thinking about sex on every given situation but still capable of disclosing colorful beads of a philosophical nature, which he tried to camouflage with waves of indifference, or rather fear wearing the translucent robes of indifference.Who remembers stars? Come to think of it, had I even looked up at the sky recently? Had the stars been wiped out of the sky three months ago, I wouldn't have known... My world foreshortened, flattening into a credit card. Seen head on, things seemed merely skewed, but from the side the view was virtually meaningless—a one-dimensional wafer. Everything about me may have been crammed in there, but it was only plastic. Indecipherable except to some machine.The second world is, ironically enough, “The End of the World”, where Murakami's writing acquires a more expressive tone with which places and people are vividly portrayed. There, a narrator depicts a seemingly perfect world echoing an ancient nirvana, an empty world, a tempting world; descriptions that also convey one significant distinction: everything might be happening now. Only living will remain. Undisturbed, peaceful living.Facts unfold following the familiar cadences of a foreign narrative and I – stunned, in deep thought, marveled at how every piece falls into the right place, slowly, cautiously, with desperate detachment and stoic passion until the puzzle is almost complete – contemplate once more how life bifurcates and reveals two realities intrinsically different and yet strongly connected: one belongs to the actual world and the other to the realm of the mind. Everything might be connected in this world surrounded by walls. But then again, perhaps everything is an illusion, nothing is connected and we are truly alone. Hopefully, that too could be another figment of one's imagination.You tell me there is no fighting or hatred or desire in the Town. That is a beautiful dream, and I do want your happiness. But the absence of fighting or hatred or desire also means the opposites do not exist either.Despite the differences that perhaps exist only in the mind of this inexperienced reader, both forms of writing converge eventually. That is what made me change my opinion, since four solid stars became a glimmering 5-star rating after reaching to a certain point amid the distinctive ebb and flow of this novel. From that moment on – a moment which I will keep to myself, hoping you find yours – an unbridled desire to know more took over my body and I couldn't put this book down until it was over. Shortly after, I realized the mistake I had made, since I wasn't prepared for the billows of emotions that were about to sweep away every vestige of a former calm. (Not many are able to resist the allurements of the literary anxiety.)That's the way with the mind. Nothing is ever equal. Like a river, as it flows, the course changes with the terrain.After stepping in the middle of seven sad forests, and being out in front of a dozen dead oceans, questions began to haunt me, relentlessly, until some invaded my whole being and there one still lingers, for I haven't found any word willing to form a decent answer.Here, in the palm of my hand, I have the story of a man facing an impending fate, remembering distant errors that will never be mend, old lyrics and classic scenes, the discrepancies between desire and reality, between who we are and who we would like to be; the little we say, the echoes of regret through the mountains of things unsaid; the departure from a world with the aftertaste of nothingness to enter one resembling everything. Despair, disillusionment, hell, reality; himself. Love, fear – love. Multiple shades of existence encapsulated in twenty-four hours. A woman, a song, the park under the sun. Some limited happiness had been granted this limited life. One last peal of a winter bell. The sounds of the end of the world.Could I have given happiness to anyone else?Sep 26, 16* Also on my blog.** Photo credit: via wallhere.com*** I started writing it in June, then life and other books, now catching up.

  • Ben
    2019-06-22 16:53

    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 state much like a dream (but slightly different), where you lose time, and explore and recognize parts of yourself; all while occasionally getting hit with an outburst of powerful consciousness. Some of his novels (Norwegian Wood andSouth of the Border, West of the Sun, for example), play with the more sentimental sections of the subconscious; but this, this is an overt exploration of the dreamlike state -- an ingenious, different world with human beings with human thoughts and emotions like us, yes. But really you're thrown into two different surreal lands, both existing simultaneously; one world in which life is more "real" than the other; that, we assume as our base, or our "reality." In that reality, we have our narrator: our narrator has run into an amoral, genius scientist, who plays with our narrator's brain. In the subconscious of our narrator's brain, we have our "other world" (also known as "the end of the world"). This is the world that seems less real. It is a world where people have literally lost their minds. No, they aren't crazy: in fact, it's just the opposite. Without their own minds, they have no meaningful life; no strong emotion-- no music. No love. Just work. In "reality" our narrator has a limited amount of time before he falls into his subconscious (the end of the world?) and lives there eternally. In his subconscious world, he is trying to escape, and has limited amount of time to do so, there, as well.Of course, no plot summary can do this book justice-- it's full of thought provoking nuance, and is probably best read twice. "It's not so strange that when your memories change, the world changes." There are a number of different theories that come to mind after finishing this. Some are still hitting me, and you know what? Each theory is fascinating and important in its own way. I don't want to put any spoilers in here, but I'd love to discuss this novel with anyone else who has read it.

  • Kristin Myrtle
    2019-06-08 22:59

    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) with his buxom daughter. She is curious, virginal and perpetually attired in pink. Oh ya, and this mad scientist has this uncanny ability to remove sound. All the sound, all the sound in the world.The second story involves another man. He has arrived in a new village. One entirely surrounded by high walls, really, really high walls. Unicorns graze and sleep in this peaceful hamlet. But in this town, mysteries abound. He is assigned a job. He is forced to give up his shadow and is put to work reading the old dreams out of unicorn skulls. The town inhabitants alter his eyes and sequester him to the "library" where all the skulls are kept. He meets a lovely assistant, he works hard, long hours in the dark. He becomes accustomed to it. All the while he is determined to have his shadow returned to him. Are these two stories connected? And how? And these two men, are they the same person, two distinct people, or different aspects of one subconscious? Why do these two stories alternate? What does the shadow signify? And the unicorns? (Not to mention the skulls.) All these questions are what keep this novel going. And along the way you get the usual delightful Murakami musings. And Murakami's words, his prose, his verbage, the way he can turn a phrase... it all continues to STUN me, it FLOORS me and fascinates me. And this novel is no exception. Although I still haven't quite figured it out. Yet.

  • Matthias
    2019-05-27 16:47

    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 exactly. I had some vague notions of course, but pinpointing the thing that drew me in, really making a case for why others should read it as well, I could not. Can I do it now?No. But I'll try anyway. What I can say is that this is: a. the best Murakami I've read; b. a superb introduction to this great author.While in the other books I've read by him it felt as if all the characters were conspiring to make things as strange as possible for the reader, thinking so far outside of the box the mere notion of a box seemed ludicrous, in this one they seem more sympathetic. Especially the protagonist. He seems like he's a good friend of Murakami, introducing him to you, but regardless of their bond, the main character is on your side. When Murakami comes up with something fantastical, he'll go with it, sure, but not without raising his eyebrows to you, signaling "I don't know what the hell is going on either, but it's fun, right?"Yes, yes it is my friend. And the complicity between the protagonist and the reader will be the thing holding you in your seat when the Murakami rollercoaster ride gets really wild and upside down. I don't want to give away too many details on the story, I think it's best discovered by reading it for yourself in all its glory. It deals with one of my favorite topics: the mind, its powers, its mysteries, its pitfalls. The joys of losing yourself in thought, the dangers of a closed mind, the connections with the heart: they're all poured into wonderful metaphors that together make for a great adventure.The novel alternates between two settings: the Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World. Which is real? What is their connection? Can both exist in harmony? Which would you rather live in? A place of passions and dangers, but only for a limited time? Or a place of peace and tranquility, forever? Is an answer even possible?Not in my book, maybe in this one. The unnamed protagonist in this story tries to answer these questions in the midst of information wars between the System and the Factory, in a village completely surrounded and isolated by an impenetrable Wall, in a race against time, running from sinister enemies in underground tunnels, all the while trying to make sure his shadow can keep up. I tried to cover a lot of what's in the story here, but I didn't even come close to getting it all. This isn't the kind of story that can be summarized into a blurb. It's exciting. It's deep. It's funny. Its settings are mysterious and thought-provoking. Oh, and there's a map! I love stories that come with maps. There was a lot of time spent simply gazing at that map, imagining to walk the river shores into the woods, dreaming away. In short: an all-time favorite. It also has my favorite quote of all time. A quote on how everything is fine. And always will be.Take a moment, sit back, relax, and read these words that never fail to impress me, no matter how many times I've read them:“The sun sliced through the windshield, sealing me in light. I closed my eyes and felt the warmth on my eyelids. Sunlight traveled a long distance to reach this planet; an infinitesimal portion of that sunlight was enough to warm my eyelids. I was moved. That something as insignificant as an eyelid had its place in the workings on the universe, that the cosmic order did not overlook this momentary fact.”Reading this book has been like soft rays of sunshine finding their way to my eyelids, an experience I wish to highly recommend to everyone.

  • Stephen M
    2019-06-21 20:48

    Right BrainUpon 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 twounnamed narrators who works in lieuof status, volition; vagueness washes his mind,all Kafkaesque, he becomes a dream-reading blind.On a lost elevator in the counterpart planeall events are concurrent and faintly the same; the dyadic complement of the twin consciousis a tech-savvy tokyoite obsessing on pink paunches.Cracking the code of the city’s undergroundin fits of silence and mercurial soundsHe loses his mind all Betty Davis stylewhile voices echo this is what salvation must be like after a while.The world unveils more pairs of people,twin librarians, old men and a gatekeeperwho unlock their world in all its furious meaninga sci-fi noir completes a fantasy of dreaming.Who knew what convolution of dreams and ideascould bring about such a spectrum of feelings?As is this masterpiece that I’ve become most fond of,Sekai no owari to hādo-boirudo wandārando

  • RandomAnthony
    2019-06-23 20:54

    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 the other) left me, for the first time in my long history with the author, hoping a long, clinical section near the middle of the book would end quickly. Luckily, the material bracketing that extended passage was strong although perhaps not coherent enough to place this book amongst Murakami’s best.The book focuses in some ways on the conscious/unconscious reality/perceptual ground familiar to readers of The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle and After Dark. Murakami changes the context from the isolation of the well or mysterious rooms one can only sometimes enter to a place where brains are modified in ways that bridge or fail to bridge the conscious and unconscious minds for strategic purposes. In other words, Murakami places this book’s world, for better or for worse, firmly in the land of science fiction. The “other” realm, full of unicorns, retired generals, and demure librarians, is a rich, thoughtful meditation on the ways in which different parts of our consciousness interact. College students looking for term paper fodder related to fiction and Jung/Campbell would have a field day with this book.But does that make for a great Murakami novel? No. While (in my eyes, and I know Murakami is one of those “love/hate” goodreads authors) most of the author’s work is transcendent and inspiring, The Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World earns those descriptors on rare and brief occasions. The book is good, interesting, even, but serves more as an intellectual exercise than a fun, “this is why I love books” read. For fans only.

  • Jr Bacdayan
    2019-06-02 22:44

    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 drive together to reveal you in your truest form and cleanse you of any impurity and grime.In Hard Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World Murakami once again presents parallel stories as he’d done in more famous works like Kafka On The Shore and Sputnik Sweetheart. But somehow in this book more than in any of his other works the relation between the two narrations is more personal; one could even describe it as intimate. And as you progress with your reading, you do realize the implications of each story to the other. And you start to appreciate the duality that Murakami has created across a single thread of consciousness. You nod approvingly and realize what intricate, delicate, fragile string must hold the entire account together. Murakami’s genius cannot be denied. In this novel that moves from beasts to coding to information laundering to anatomy, paperclips and pre-70s pop culture and many other disparate themes one shines a light and sees the conscious self above all only to realize the unconscious self is holding the lantern. This book is probably what it’d feel like to be in a dark room and then stumble onto a mirror and by moonlight see the reflection of your brain exposed jutting out of a gape in your skull. You do not fully know yourself, not even you know who you truly are. Your unconscious is some dark place probably filled with unicorns. Don’t try to understand it. Realize the significance that there is some part of you, you don’t control. Accept that life is mysterious and so are you. But hey I’ve never really been a connoisseur of the subconscious; I’ve got no solid background aside from the standard Freud and Jung. Who am I to tell you who you are? I’m here just urging you maybe get to know yourself a little better. You’d be surprised. You’re more than a just a box of chocolates, as our friend Forrest would put it. Hey you’re another world entirely. You’re like the cross between Stendhal, Dylan, and that attractive person from the gym. You’re the man in black, the woman in pink, that dude that shocked the world. You’re whatever you want to be and something else entirely. Appreciate yourself, what you know, what you don’t. Sometimes I come across people who try to read Murakami because they think his books are ‘Instagram worthy.’ They say he’s ‘deep’ and ‘aesthetic’ and he writes relatable things and he’s famous so he has to be good. But these readers often end up confused more than anything. There’s nothing sadder than someone being forced to read a book maybe because of pretensions or maybe because of peer pressure. Who knows? But if I know anything, and I’m not sure I do, literature should be happily undertaken and seen as some sort of reprieve from our taxing world and not as some sort of chore to sink your teeth into and forcefully finish. Reading an unwanted book probably does your unconscious more harm than it does your conscious good. But consider reading this book. You’ll probably enjoy yourself. If you didn’t, well, at least you tried. But remember to read for yourself, because you want to. Don’t read because I told you or somebody else did, or because you want to look good in the eyes of other people. There’s nothing more unfitting than reading this book because of anybody else. At some part of the book Murakami writes ‘I am here alone at the furthest periphery of existence. Here the world expires and is still.’ This offers us a certain sort of clarity. A lot of the things we do, we do because others expect from us. Because we have responsibilities to family, to friends, to loved ones. We do because we don’t want to hurt others. But when all of that is cleared away, sometimes the things we do for others hurt the self we’ve hidden away. There are times the self is harmed by what’s good for everyone else. But not only that, it can be that the self is dictated by those around it. Maybe you do not realize but you like what you like because your friends like it too. Maybe your favorite book is only your favorite because your partner likes it as well. Maybe who you are is entirely based on who your friends and family are. The identity you’ve built dependent and patterned to those around you. And so when the world is stripped off, when you are alone far from everyone else, who are you? What is it that you like? What makes you happy? What drives you? Do you know?This is a novel that stirs the depths of consciousness and looks into the self unlike any other. It’s a rewarding experience that unmasks a man and his daily repetitive activities to show the depths of who we are and the gravity of balance between our many facets. Get in touch with yourself, with the truest self you can access and discover. Spend some time alone. Figure out what you want. Learn to love and appreciate who you are. You might be surprised.

  • Ahmad Sharabiani
    2019-06-23 00:09

    Sekai no owari to hādoboirudo wandārando=Hard-boiled wonderland and the end of the world, Haruki Murakami تاریخ نخستین خوانش: بیست و یکم جولای سال 2012 میلادیعنوان: سرزمین عجایب بیرحم و ته دنیا؛ نویسنده: هاروکی موراکامی؛ مترجم: مهدی غبرایی؛ مشهد، نیکونشر، 1390، در 512 ص؛ شابک: 9789647253536؛ یادداشت: این نسخه از متن انگلیسی برگردان شده؛ موضوع: داستانهای نویسندگان ژاپنی قرن 20 م؛فصل‌های فرد کتاب در: « سرزمین عجایب بی‌رحم »؛ می‌گذرند، راوی این سرزمین عجایب بیرحم، جوانی ست که از ضمیر ناخودآگاه خویش برای رمزنگاری استفاده می‌کند، او برای یک سازمان شبه‌ دولتی کار می‌کند، در حالی که گروهی دیگر، که برای کارخانه کار می‌کنند، در پی رمزگشایی و ربودن اطلاعات هستند. اما فصل‌های زوج که در: « ته دنیا » رخ می‌دهند؛ به مراتب دلانگیزتر هستند؛ گاهی نوشته های موراکامی را باید دوبار یا همان دوباره بخوانم؛ شاید هم این فراموشکار چون پیر شده، چنین است؛ انگار باید یواش یواش سایه ام را تحویل دهم. ا. شربیانی

  • Michael
    2019-05-27 19:00

    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 serve the shadowy, illegal forces known as the Factory. The man takes on a job for a brilliant, maverick scientist (the “Professor”) whose recent discoveries have him hiding out from both factions in an underground redoubt far beneath the streets of Tokyo. These chapters alternate with a world where the protagonist is newly arrived with no memories in a town isolated behind a high wall (the “Town”, the “Wall”). The Gatekeeper forces him to part with his shadow (sure, why not, it doesn’t hurt), and he assumes his job as a Dreamreader, experiencing the shreds of human memories and dreams from unicorn skulls housed in the Town Library. Nice to have a job lined up, so go with the flow. He soon succumbs to the peaceful patterns of existence of this world and the kindness of people devoted to their various jobs such keeping the town running, harvesting resources, and tending to the herds of unicorn beasts.We know we are in for a ride when we first follow our cool, unflappable hero from an austere modern office on a long journey to the underworld in the escort of the Professor’s teen grand-daughter and learn she has to use sign language to guide him because the scientist has somehow erased sound. And that the dark passages through caverns along an underground river are infested with dangerous swarms of creatures (“INKlings”) unleashed by the Factory forces. And that the man’s password for initiating the use of his brain for encoding the Professor’s top secret information is “End of the World.” Soon he learns he is part of an experiment, and that the secret everyone is after lies in new capabilities of his brain and mind and that time is running short to figure it out and take meaningful action. The Professor has given him the gift of a skull, which he figures is an important clue, and he spends a lot of time with a seductive librarian woman trying to identify it. Meanwhile, in the walled town, the man there also is working with skulls and developing a relationship with a librarian. And time is running short for him to figure out the town—should he try to escape before his shadow dies?As a reader, I became hungry myself to understand these mysteries and the link between the two worlds. But all along the way I wanted to linger with the vitality of the warm-hearted characters experienced by the questing dual protagonists. There is much delight in simple pleasures of food and drink, affection and lust, and humor in playful conversation. In the dystopian world these pleasures are contrasted by many outside threats, while in the utopian world the promise of timelessness poses a more internal threat to their reality. There are plenty of interludes for philosophical discussions that spin naturally out of the systems of the two worlds in the same way as Plato used his famous cave as a prop for posing fundamental questions. Some of these reflections are lighter than other. For example, our hero of the Tokyo Infowars is constantly spinning off reflections from old movies, songs, and books. He can spin a bit of aesthetic philosophy so simply: Whiskey, like a beautiful woman, demands appreciation. You gaze first, then it’s time to drink.He is a cool customer, so casually brave in situations of danger, but he is quite conscious sometimes of a profound emptiness at his core:My life is nothing, I thought. Zero. Zilch. A blank. What have I done with my life? Not a damned thing. I had no home. I had no family. I had no friends. Not a door to my name. Not an erection either. Pretty soon, not even a job.His awareness of his flaws makes him sympathetic to losers in literature, especially in Turgenev and Stendhal. For example, he identifies with Julien Sorel in “The Red and the Black”:Sorel’s basic character flaws had all cemented by the age of fifteen, a fact which further elicited my sympathy. To have all the building blocks of your life in place by that age was, by any standards, a tragedy. It was as good as sealing yourself into a dungeon Walled in, with nowhere to go but your own doom.Much more discussion by the characters in both worlds concern the nature of the mind and identity, their dependence on time and memory, and the reality of the unconscious. I won’t spoil the fun here, but I will tantalize you with some out-of-context nuggets: Without the mind, nothing leads anywhere.It’s not so strange that when your memories change, the world changes.As you create memories, you’re creating a parallel world.…we all carry around this great unexplored ‘elephant graveyard’ inside us. Outer space inside, this is truly humanity’s last terra incognita. … ‘Tisn’t a burial ground for collected dead memories. An ‘elephant factory’ is more like it. There’s where you sort through countless memories and bits of knowledge, arrange the sorted chips into complex lines, combine these lines into more complex bundles, and finally make up a cognitive system. A veritable production line, with you as the boss. Unfortunately, though, the factory floor is off-limits.Of course, ever since the modern age, science has stressed the physiological spontaneity of the human organism, But as soon’s we start askin’ just what this spontaneity is, nobody can come up with a decent answer. Nobody’s got the keys t’the elephant factory inside us. Freud and Jung and all the rest of them published their theories, but all they did was t’invent a lot of jargon t’get people talkin’. Gave mental phenomena a little scholastic color.Humans are immortal in their thought. Though strictly speakin’, not immortal, but endlessly, asymptotically close to immortal. There’s no time to tautologies. That’s the difference between tautologies and dreams. Tautologies are instantaneous, everything is revealed at once. Eternity can actually be experienced.I am a fan of science fiction, and this tale has enough scientific hand-waving to tickle the same pleasures I got from Stephenson’s cyberpunk tale “Snow Crash”. The fun wasn’t from the plausibility of the premise (that a computer virus that could infect human communication in the latter), but all the shenanigans that were built on it. You probably guess already that the utopian world here is an imaginary world from the perspective of the “real” world set in Tokyo. But it so brilliant to me how Murakami can us get twisted up in the prospect of such an imagined world having an epistemic reality, when both his worlds are so chock full of fantasy elements anyway. Simply delicious. It’s of the same order as the mind fracking of Mieville’s “The City and the City”, but a lot more satisfying in it’s cohesiveness and playfulness.

  • Brooke
    2019-05-29 20:45

    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 refers to the two portions of the book - Hardboiled Wonderland is about a man who mentally processes information for a living - it's vaguely sci-fi-ish, but not enough to turn off readers who aren't interested in sci-fi. This nameless man finds himself running for his life underground when various groups suddenly decide they want him for their purposes. The End of the World is about a man who suddenly arrives in a unicorn-filled town that is surrounded by a Wall. He doesn't know how he got there or where he was before, and he must have his shadow cut away from him in order to live within the Wall. The novel goes back and forth between each half, which eventually start to tie together.It's kind of similar to Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere, but that comparison will only take you so far. Murakami's nameless protagonists are more introspective than Gaiman's Richard Mayhew, and in the end, the focus is on what's going on within, rather than the action outside.Despite flipping back and forth between the two halves, the novel flows very well. It kept my attention so well that I was eagerly looking forward to picking it up each time I had a chance to read, which is something I haven't felt about the last half-dozen or so books I've read. The novel was written in 1985, but other than the mention of cassettes, there was no sign that it was written over twenty years ago.I'm really glad I didn't give up on Murakami after being disappointed by his first two that I read. Hopefully the rest of his books will hold some of the magic that Hardboiled Wonderland has, because I'll really feel let down if I go back to being underwhelmed again.

  • K.D. Absolutely
    2019-06-08 18:53

    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 Wonderland and the End of the World is like what one of the judges, Jennifer Lopez, commented to my favorite contestant, Pia Toscano (picture below) when she sang a Motown song a couple of weeks back.[image error] Singing: Checked. Showmanship: Checked. Connection to the Audience: Unchecked. Reading this book is like having a huge kitchen sink being thrown at you. It is full of mind boggling details about two worlds narrated alternately. Even-numbered chapters talk about Hard-Boiled Wonderland and odd-numbered ones talk about End of the World. There are so many characters (none of them named properly) and many conflicts that slowed down my understanding. It was good that I read this with a reading buddy and our pace was 2 chapters a day and we commented at the end of each day so that we were able to compare notes. It was good that she has stayed in Japan so she is familiar with its culture and she added spice to my reading. So, I thought I perfectly understood what this novel was all about and will not require a second reading for me. Unlike Elias Canetti's Auto-da-Fe that I thought I did not understand completely (because I rated it with 3 stars while my close reading friends rated them 5 stars), there is no Murakami mystery here that I thought I still need to unlock so toying an idea of re-reading is... cute.Early this year, I read Jay Rubin's book on Murakami called Music and Words. It tells about Murakami and his passion in reading. Murakami is said to read around 250 novels a year and has been fascinated with Western literature, classic and contemporary. One of his main influences is Raymond Chandler, who is said to be the original hard-boiled writer. The End of the World narration here is similar to Franz Kafka's The Castle and the idea of a man being separated from his shadow can be found in Knut Hamsun's 1898 novel, Victoria.Like Pia, Murakami's Hardboiled Wonderland and the End of the World rates:Writing: Checked. Storytelling: Checked. Connection to Me: Unchecked.J Lo is always quick to add her usual sweetener when she sees that these adolescent contestants are about to cry: "But know that I love you, baby" I am still a Murakami fan.And after the Elton John night, with Pia Toscano singing another ballad, Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me, Pia is now leading in the Bloggers' American Idol Choice survey! Which means J Lo and I could be wrong. But we all are entitled to our own opinions, aren't we?Go Pia!

  • Szplug
    2019-06-24 19:07

    Glass-eyed, marbled prison stare,Functionless form that with willWould coldly rend limb from limb.Toothy gates, e'er sealed againstWhat would gnash and tear, stronglyAflow with the crimson bloodOf 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.

  • vivliovision
    2019-06-14 17:45

    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 perception of the story as a whole. In other words, the trick is quite old; and yet, Murakami makes a rather innovative use of it. According to Wikipedia, Hard-boiled Fiction is a literary sub-genre, associated with pulp fiction and detective stories [ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hardboiled]. Murakami pays tribute to the unique style of those noir stories by placing his own Tokyo-Wonderland in that particular frame of reference.The story unfolds around a man who works for a non-governmental agency—the System—which, in the course of time, has acquired a quasi-official status. The protagonist makes a living as a Calcutec, i.e. as an information encryption specialist. A Calcutec's training essentially consists in establishing some artificial division in the trainee's brain. Once the "switch" is implanted, Calcutecs are able to proceed various data, as if they were in a subconscious state of mind—and in a sense, in a subconscious mode of being. Semiotecs are antagonists of Calcutecs. They work for the Factory—a mirror-agency of the System—which employs people to decode stolen data. When the main character gets assigned to a highly sensitive job for a brilliant but nonetheless weird scientist, a Kafkaesque chase begins underneath the labyrinthine streets of Tokyo. "The End of the World" is the counterpart of the "Hard-boiled Wonderland". The narrator is a man with no memories of his past. One fine day he finds himself at a deadly peaceful village surrounded by an impenetrable wall. At the gate of the village the man is asked to surrender his shadow. "Shadows are useless anyway. Deadweight." says the Gatekeeper to him. The man hesitates to accept such a startling demand, but eventually he allows the Gatekeeper to separate him from his shadow. From then on he is the Dreamreader. Although he is not a prisoner or a hostage, he can leave the place no more; just like anyone else there. Murakami prose runs along the pages at a leisurely slow pace (as usual). In my opinion, Murakami uses deliberately this down-tempo, because it is relatively easy for the writer to keep it over a long distance performance, without running out of breath. Moreover, it is relatively easy for the reader to follow this pace without either pausing every now and then in order to catch breath, or hurrying every once in a while in order to catch up with the author. Nevertheless, there are readers who find Murakami's cadence somehow tiresome; and accordingly, they believe that his works are in need of some serious editing.There is a certain delay that sets in between the beginning and the end of Murakami novels. That's correct. However, I think that Murakami's prolonged endings are far more interesting than the need-for-an-editor-argument suspects. In a text like the present one, we don't have to go to great lengths to prove the point in question. Suffice is to say just a couple of things. If the writing of a novel gives to the writer a great deal of pleasure, it is only to be expected that the writer will do his best to sustain the pleasure–to make it last–for as long as he can. And yet, despite the author's best efforts, the made-up world of any satisfying novel is destined to come to an (inevitable) end. Moreover, T. S. Eliot has already provided us with a valuable insight into the subject at hand:"When a poet's mind is perfectly equipped for its work, it is constantly amalgamating disparate experience; the ordinary man's experience is chaotic, irregular, fragmentary. The latter falls in love, or reads Spinoza, and these two experiences have nothing to do with each other, or with the noise of the typewriter or the smell of cooking; in the mind of the poet these experiences are always forming new wholes."(Eliot, 1921: http://personal.centenary.edu/~dhavir...)All in all, perhaps we are a generation of spoiled readers. If you come to think about it, you will probably see for yourself that there is a certain attitude towards contemporary works of literature, which threatens to become the new mainstream: “I've purchased this or that book and (therefore) I expect it (not to say, "I demand") to fulfil my expectations, to satisfy me, to amuse me, to please me, to flatter me, to entertain me. . .etc.” But is this really what book-reading is supposed to be all about?Before we move forward, let's take another step back and consider what Vladimir Nabokov is talking about, when he says:"It should be understood that competition in chess problems is not really between white and black, but between the composer and the hypothetical solver. Just as in a first-rate work of fiction, the real clash is not between the characters, but between the author and the world… I do not seem to convey sufficiently the ecstatic core of the process and its points of connection with various other, more overt and fruitful, operations of the creative mind: from the charting of dangerous seas, to the writing of one of those incredible novels where the author, in a fit of lucid madness, has set himself certain unique rules that he observes, certain nightmare obstacles that he surmounts, with the zest of a deity building a live world from the most unlikely ingredients--rocks and carbon, and blind throbbings."(Nabokov, "Speak, Memory" http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30...)There is a secret (that is to say, a private) passage leading from the outer world to the inner space and vice versa. An accomplished artist, like Haruki Murakami, couldn't but have been instinctively aware of this voie privée from the very beginning. However, reading between the lines of “Hard-boiled Wonderland and the End of the World" (written back in the early 80’s) the reader has the rare opportunity to follow the early attempts of a now-renowned author to enter the mystery. Murakami maps all the way down to an inner reality, which turns out to be far more solid than a novice writer would expect. And then, surprisingly, he goes beyond that: the inner world and outer world blurs into a world-within and a world-without, respectively. At any rate, "Hard-boiled Wonderland and the End of World", though is written in a (seemingly) easy flowing language, turns out to be an intricate and multilevel novel. In fact, the closer the reading, the more layers for the reader to discover. To make a long story short, "Hard-boiled Wonderland and the End of World" is an overall pleasant excursion at the winding alleys of Murakami's fictional landscapes of the underground and the off-beat. An agnostic riddle wrapped up in a gnostic enigma.PS: You probably wish I'd say as an aside, a word or two about the “cat issue” in Murakami's novels. Well, if that is the case, there are no cats in this novel, either.However, there are some references to human ears in general, and female earlobes in particular.

  • Forrest
    2019-05-30 23:58

    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, Murakami supplies many pieces of the puzzle, but the reader's brain must itself invoke any missing pieces from past experience or the subconscious's sheer creation of additional fiction on the fly. Of course, this is the case with any piece of fiction, but the chasms that we willingly cross with Murakami are a testament to his power as a writer - the power to draw one into the story, to fold the reading experience in with the story itself.That is not to say that the book is not without its flaws. I must admit to having felt "thrown out" of the story for a good portion of the story: an infodump in which one of the characters explains complicated concepts about neurology and consciousness in a highly-distracting, "folksy" voice. For a chapter, I thought I might set the book down, as I found this voice so annoying at what seemed like such a critical juncture. In the end, I'm not certain that the section in question was really even necessary. It could have at least been reduced by half and simplified, in order to keep the flow that I normally enjoy from Murakami.Still, after that bump in the auctorial road, the story comes together again, as if it has jumped a hurdle and is now racing, quite confidently, to the finish. At a certain point - which I won't reveal - the two stories that comprise the book begin to meld into one, and yet the ending came as an utter surprise to me . . . because it was the ending I was expecting all along and the ending I both most feared and the ending I had secretly hoped for. It "rocked my world" because it did not "rock my world".Ultimately, this is the sort of bittersweet story I've learned to hope for from Murakami, a sort of Hegelian dialectic in which hope and despair resolve into a sort of triumphant acceptance of inevitability. This has been a timely read for me, and rather poignant, since my father was recently diagnosed with cancer which has not, thankfully, metastasized. He had surgery to have his kidney removed just two weeks before I am writing this review. He is doing well, but, in talking with him on the phone, I can tell that he is finally feeling his age and, while I hope and pray that he will live for many more years (his prognosis is actually quite good), he is being faced with his own mortality. Dad is a fighter. And he won't go without holding on as long as he can. But I think he'll do it with dignity. Do I wish he could live forever? Yes. Do I know that he must eventually die? Yes. And still, there is a quiet beauty to his growing old, not a fear of fate, but not a desperate struggle, either. I can hear a twinge of sadness in his voice when I talk to him, but also an increase of appreciation for Life. All intellectual concerns aside, I can't think of a more appropriate book to have read at this time.

  • Lou
    2019-05-29 17:45

    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 ever get tired of reading through his entire bibliography. Japanese authors write in a completely different style to others, which I love.

  • Apatt
    2019-06-22 21:40

    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 whimsical characters and Murakami’s unique brand of whatever it is he is doing. Here is an example:"Perhaps some fluctuation in the gravitational field had suddenly inundated the world with paperclips. Perhaps it was mere coincidence. I couldn’t shake the feeling that things weren’t normal. Was I being staked out by paperclips? They were everywhere I went, always just a glance away."I have to say I was hooked from the beginning as the weirdness hit the ground running with a ride in an elevator with no buttons, floor indicator or discernable motion. Then we meet a fat girl in pink whose voice has somehow been muted like a TV set. The book is structured as a dual narrative, one strand is set in Tokyo, probably in the 80s though the year is not mentioned, the other appears to be set in some kind of parallel fantasy world in a walled up town with unicorns. The chapters alternate between these two settings. Initially the “Tokyo” plot seems to concern information war, encryption and cyberpunkish neurological enhancement. Soon the story slowly morphs into a race to save the world then transform again to something very odd which I will not spoil for you. The more fantastical “walled Town” narrative has a Neil Gaiman-ish feel to it, a little whimsical and a little sad. How the two story lines eventually come together had me reaching for the aspirin.The main characters are all well developed and interesting if somewhat eccentric. For some reason not a single character is named in this book, but they are all referred to by their job or physical attribute. The tone of the two narrative strands is very different. The Tokyo part is colloquial in tone, often ironic and sometime hilarious, similar to the prose of noir detective novel (but funnier) with a little Holden Caulfield thrown in. Special mention must be made for a scene involving a subway attendant that seems like something out of Monty Python. Here is an eccentric little sentence:"You can tell a lot about a person’s character from his choice of sofa. Sofas constitute a realm inviolate unto themselves."In contrast the “walled Town” chapters are a little melancholy, more pensive and surreal. Both narratives are fascinating though I have a slight preference for the Tokyo part because it made me laugh. The writing style, as far as I can tell from the excellent translation, is accessible yet unusual and sometime lyrical.It is a very hard book to review and describe due to its oddness, I almost feel like I dreamed the book rather than read it. I suspect the less you know about it in advance the better. I am still not sure what to make of the ending, it is still whirling around in my head even as I write. I did not see that coming! Haruki Murakami is clearly a very unusual yet readable author, I wonder what he has in store for me next.

  • Andrew Smith
    2019-06-10 23:45

    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, in that it’s all about the internal workings of the mind. Like Auster’s novel, it’s clever – very clever. Not my favourite Murakami book but definitely one worth catching, particularly if you’re already a fan.

  • João Carlos
    2019-06-26 00:45

    Illustration by E. K. HarperTerminei..."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 indecifráveis, desejo físico e sexual, que alterna entre a impossibilidade e a espontaneidade, com personagens ambíguas e sombras sem recordações, onde as emoções e a coragem são determinantes, na evolução das imagens e das suas reminiscências, numa procura incessante da vida ou da percepção que os protagonistas têm da vida, numa espécie de teatro de sombras ou de teatro de marionetes, em que existe aparentemente uma desconexão entre o mundo real e o mundo imaginário. Dois romances numa só obra literária imperdível que agrupa magistralmente inúmeras influências literárias que vão do romance "noir" à ficção científica e que se revela com uma autêntica surpresa, numa imaginação sem limites e visualmente deslumbrante."O Impiedoso País das Maravilhas e o Fim do Mundo", publicado originalmente em 1985, é provavelmente o melhor livro do Haruki Murakami (n. 1949) - mas ainda me falta "Kafka à Beira-Mar" e "Crónica do Pássaro de Corda"... Ilustração de Holly MillsPosso dar largas à imaginação?- À vontade. A imaginação é livre como os pássaros e vasta como o mar. Nada a pode deter." (Pág. 192)Ilustração de Holly Mills"Fechei os olhos e abandonei-me àquele sono profundo." (Pág. 560)"Vi um pássaro branco voar no meio da tormenta , rumo ao sul. Depois da sua passagem, nada mais restou senão o ranger na neve sob os meus pés." (Pág. 565)

  • Michela De Bartolo
    2019-06-18 19:48

    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 sottoterra. Una corsa contro il tempo nella scoperta di se stesso e del mondo . Il secondo mondo è la fine del mondo . Anche qui il protagonista senza nome , si ritroverà qui senza sapere come ci sia arrivato. Lentamente scopre come si svolge la vita in questo posto . Personaggi come il Burbero guardiano , il colonnello in pensione, la bibliotecaria senza cuore e gli Unicorni . Qui costui viene privato della sua ombra , che in realtà rappresenta la sua coscienza ed i suoi ricordi . Catalogare questo romanzo tra quelli “ comuni “ è praticamente impossibile, c’è sempre qualcosa che sfugge e che stimola il lettore a trascendere dai personaggi, insomma una fiaba tra il reale e l’irreale. Il bello è stato farsi trasportare in questo viaggio onirico , e scoprire che queste due storie non sono altro che la stessa storia vista da due livelli di percezione diversi , con tanto di disagio dell’essere umano .

  • Kay
    2019-06-15 17:46

    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 all the debate is that you need to be in a certain mood and mindset to enjoy certain books by Murakami. In my case with Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World, the meandering and dreamily emotional storyline hit the bulls eye for what I didn't know I needed.Plot SummaryThis book is split between parallel storylines. The first is set in contemporary Tokyo and told from the perspective of a somewhat average yuppie. Except, this yuppie is a “Calcutec,” a human data processor/computer who uses his subconscious to encrypt data. He gets assigned to work for a mad scientist type, who not only specializes in “sound removal” but suspiciously reminds me of an insane Santa Claus. This assignment, however, sets off a string of events that gets him embroiled in a corporate information war, the savage “Inklings” who dwell in the sewers of Tokyo, and the impending end of the world. The second storyline tells the tale of a traveler, who is in the process of becoming a citizen of a walled city called “The End of the World” (also mapped in the front page). In order to enter, the narrator must be severed from his Shadow. As he goes about his Dreamreading duties—which is reading the dreams of unicorn skills—it becomes apparent that his Shadow is his only remaining clue behind where he came from and what he is meant to do. My ReactionThis is an incredibly complex novel, one that I plan on rereading later with a fresh mind. Similar to Kafka on the Shore, I haven't really quite figured out the entire novel. But here is what I know about Hard-Boiled…or at least, what I think I know. Hard-Boiled is:-wistful-contemplative-filled with a unrequited yet unselfish longing for meaning in life-deceptively unassuming in prose, but still emotionally potent-a gentle story that touches upon the nature and purpose of our existence-a love story, though I feel this point is highly debatableNow, for potential readers who have little idea of the rabbit hole into which they are about to fall, let’s talk about what Hard-Boiled is not:-a character-driven novel; rather, like in Kafka on the Shore the protagonists are tabula rasas, defined and shaped by external forces, even if they are fundamentally connected to these forces-a sci-fi novel... actually, the shallow exploration of experimental neurology and computer science is quite hokey and falls short of being within the realm of applicable possibility, more "fringe" science than not-straightforward—trust me on this oneI found that the ending to this novel was one of the best and strangely complete endings I’ve read. Surprisingly, for the type of story it was, the story came full circle by the final page with many loose ends tied up. The finale was a melancholy yet uplifting tone.Though I love this book to death (it’s made my all-time favorites list, in fact), I hesitate to recommend it to everyone. As I mentioned before, you need to be in a certain mindset to enjoy a Murakami. But if you found the above description of the book interesting, it may be an extremely worthwhile read.

  • Stephen P
    2019-06-01 21:06

    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 together to get that Murakami high or its resemblance.He remains one of my favorites. I ordered his new book. That's who that guy dressed in brown pacing in front of my house is. Hey put that book back in its box. What? You think its good. Real good. Forget the box just toss me the book. Yeah you can come in. Always time to talk books, talk Murakami.

  • Erwin
    2019-06-16 01:06

    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.

  • Tintin
    2019-06-06 22:00

    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?<.........>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 certainly read more from him—if only to get that 'i-don't-know-what-exactly-im-reading-but-its-kinda-cool' high.ENJOYMENT FACTOR:I could go on a long treatise about the nature of consciousness and memory, but I’m too tired and I’d rather sum up the both the good and bad in three letters: WTF?! OTHER OBSERVATIONS (The X Factor):I imagine the experience would be similar to snorting cocaine while drunk.

  • Mary
    2019-06-24 16:54

    This book contains (view spoiler)[47 erection references (hide spoiler)].Approximately.

  • Maryam
    2019-05-29 18:01

    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 رسدقسمتی از کتابکف زمین خاکی است و رطوبت اتاق توام با سرماست. سایه ام بی حرکت تو تختخواب خوابیده و پتو را تا روی گوش هایش کشیده. با چشم های بی رمق نگاهم می کند. همان طور که سرهنگ گفته، از عمر سایه ام چیزی باقی نیست

  • Jennifer (aka EM)
    2019-06-10 20:51

    My last status update for this book claimed that it redeemed itself in the end, but I'm having second thoughts about that, hence the 2-star rating.My two stars should not put anyone else off this. It's more a reflection of the sense of disappointment I have overall when something doesn’t live up to its early promise. (In some ways, an average book that turns out to be average has an advantage over a high-potential book that disappoints.) Since this is my first Murakami, the 2-star rating also doesn’t reflect the likelihood that I may pick up something else of his—the reviews here on goodreads suggest that this is not his finest work. The idea of exploring alternate universes within a character’s own consciousness is innately interesting. The interpretation of cognitive experience such as that required when reading a book—any book really, but particularly this book which is in fact about meta-cognition itself—offers exciting fodder for thought experiments and is always fun in a mind-screwing kind of way. The book explores how we are conscious of our own consciousness: what is accessible to us, and what is not. How our consciousness creates our reality. How it might be possible to exist in several different realities at once—with death being only one of these; and the corresponding idea that an ‘afterlife’ might run simultaneously with our real life, just waiting for us to show up. Lost, anyone?The problem is, as fascinating and worthy of exploring as each of these themes and questions is, the execution didn’t match the potential as a result of what I felt were some really basic flaws. The most egregious of these hit during the crux of the story, far beneath Tokyo, 1985. We know that this is its time and place through the HBW chapters’ repeated cultural references which I think are meant to be ‘hip’—or so the jacket blurbs would have us believe—but by 2010 standards, seem dated. There is a reference to the year being 15 years after Jim Morrison’s death, which is why we can pinpoint it so precisely, even if the Police cassette-tape blasting taxi driver didn’t do it for us. I got stuck there though, not because of any anachronism but because of the mad scientist professor’s inexplicable Houston-by-way-of-Lancashire accent (more on that later). The professor had performed some strange and never fully-explained brain experiment on our main character/narrator which had killed off all his (the hero's) cohorts. The hero was mighty pissed about it, but forgave professor almost immediately, a behaviour attributable not to any believable motivation or broader psychological principle, but more because Murakami needed to paint hero-narrator as ‘hard-boiled’, natch, which really means possessing an amoral, hip cynicism.Unfortunately, our hero’s world-weary tone, which I think was intended to be wry, never seemed to strike the right note. The humorous bits weren’t funny; the cynical bits were undermined by his sincerity and pathos. I imagined him as a kind of Eternal Sunshine-Jim Carrey plunked down in a James Bond movie. The combination doesn’t work, or maybe now in 2010 has just been done before and done better. The author’s choice to ground the HBW chapters so precisely in time/place (without providing a similar level of detail to describe how that world is also very different from 1985 Tokyo, to support the mythical/fantasy elements of the plot) compromises his ability to achieve a believable world. I was left with a feeling throughout that Murakami was doing stuff that he didn't need to do (the accent, in particular—I was totally derailed by that stupid accent) and not doing stuff that he did need to do: i.e., explain more about the HBW world he was trying to create. He didn’t have any of these problems in the End of the World chapters, primarily because there was no need to integrate real-world time/place details with the fantasy world he had created there.I was left with too many questions about what had caused the character to be in the predicament he was in: HBW appears to be a futuristic, urban, sterile environment where science, technology and commerce have run amok and are now under control of “the System” – is that government or corporate, or some hybrid of the two, or something else? There appear to be two classes of knowledge workers: Semiotecs and Calcutecs. Are Semiotecs language workers and Calcutecs numbers workers as their names would suggest? (Murakami doesn’t give any of his main characters a proper name, so surely these two are meaningful?) And if so, does this have something to do with the left-brain, right-brain dichotomy that Murakami is exploring—another framework for understanding cognitive processing, a demonstration of which opens the novel (the hero, uniquely it appears, is able to separate left-brain from right-brain processing – was this the intention and result of the brain operation to which he was subjected?).All of these very intriguing questions were set up in the beginning, and none of them were ever clearly answered. The plot of the HBW chapters became increasingly confusing, and when it finally appeared that our hero (and we readers) were going to get some answers, the whole thing fell apart instead of coming together.There are editorial (translation? authorial?) choices all over the place which made me crazy—things that just felt ‘off’ to me. They added up, and I started to focus on them. Case in point (although I can’t find the page number for this one, but it really stuck in my craw): “blah blah blah,” he said. “blah blah blah,” said she. “Said she”? Another: “Then I slip the folded accordion into my pocket.” (p 347). Uhhhh … no accordion I know could fit in a pocket. Is accordion a mistranslation, or are you talking about a different musical instrument? Since the instrument--indeed, music, sound and memory--are monumentally important as symbols in this novel, it’s sort of important to get that detail right. The End of the World chapters, on the other hand, kept me going. Here, the deliberately fuzzy, dreamlike details—beings without minds, separated from their shadows; golden unicorns; a walled-in city entrapping them—lyrical prose, and believable character motivations clearly demarcated these chapters from the HBW ones. The End of the World was (intentionally ironically?) fully realized and well-executed, with symbolism and a logic that was, while surreal, always coherent and compelling.I think—think—that by alternating the HBW and End of the World chapters, Murakami’s intent was to create a jarring contrast between the two worlds, i.e., the two levels of consciousness. But for me, the contrast was jarring only because the two were so differently executed. The problem is that the one world—the one clearly meant to represent core, unknowable consciousness or perhaps death—was, from a literary point of view, well-executed, believable and quite beautiful; the other was poorly rendered, with inexplicable details, contrived and irrelevant plot points, and one-dimensional characters whose motivations were not believable.If you’re creating a mythical world, then you have to be all-in. If there’s a fray in the fabric of your myth, the reader (well, this reader) will pick away at it until the whole thing unravels. I will also start focusing on details you don’t want me to focus on and getting increasingly annoyed when the text provides no evidence or hints about things you are obviously expecting me to interpret. If you’re giving me a detail, then dammit—it needs to be a detail that drives plot, character, theme – something. I can pinpoint the spot that this novel plummeted from a 4-star rating to the two stars I gave it. When our hero meets the professor underground—a point in the story that should have started to answer the early questions—I had a Life of Pi moment. It was the professor’s ridiculous and unnecessary accent that did it. Why give him an accent? Is this a problem of translation, or one that originates in Murakami’s story choices? That led to: how is it possible that a character, whom you repeatedly (and offensively—because again, why?) label only as “the chubby girl” is capable of climbing up a many-stories-high knotted rope ladder in pink high heels after swimming for an hour across a lake in an underground cavern, dodging INKlings all the while by holding an INKling repellant on her head (so, she was swimming and climbing one-armed, too?)? Also, what is an INKling, exactly? Show us an altercation with one so we get a sense of how big a threat they pose instead of simply talking about them as some poorly-defined, stinky underground dwellers that seek to do harm to our hero, but are really simply devices to drive the plot forward. And what’s with the capitalization of the first three letters? Give us some clue or explanation, some opportunity to interpret this detail, or don’t bother giving it to us at all.That’s what I was focused on at the most critical juncture of this book – why a main character had a stupid accent and how another main character, who was presumably not a top athlete, could climb hundreds of feet up a rope ladder while wearing high heels. Why the key threat driving everyone forward had three capital letters at the beginning of its name.Dear Mr. Murakami: if your story does not contain enough that is gripping and interesting in the plot and characterizations to keep me from focusing on irrelevant, inexplicable details, well … you’ve lost me as a reader.Now, you may say I’m quibbling. Or have missed the point. Or, that all of these literary stylings were theme-reinforcing, intentional and successful in this genre of novel, which I don’t frequently read. But I come back to what Murakami DOES tell us, presumably as a way to reconcile the fantastic elements within the real-world context of this hard-boiled wonderland. He tells us that the main character / narrator waits until chubby girl signals him that she’s back on dry land at the top of the ladder because the rope ladder can only bear the weight of one person at a time. Like I was worried about that?! THAT you choose to tell me, while expecting me to believe without question how the flippin’ hell he got underground, through a treacherous series of physical obstacles that defied the laws of physics for a human body to traverse, much less a human being that has almost been disemboweled by someone who might be a Semiotec, or might be a Calcutec, or might be someone else entirely but nooooo, you never clear up this plot point for me, do you Mr. Murakami? No, instead you worry that I will question the weight load capable of being borne by your however-many-stories high rope ladder. And tell me that our hero is finally able to urinate after something like 72 hours. Again, like I was questioning that? You give me a rationale for the main character’s normal biological functions being compromised by the timeline of your plot, but he seems to have no real trouble scaling the wet, sheer cliff wall of an underground mountain, in the dark, with a stomach wound?Still, I finished it. Mostly because I, like our hero, had persevered on the journey Murakami took us on and was just about at the end [of the World:] and I chose to stay there. Hmmm. Ironic, yeah?

  • Jimmy
    2019-06-15 22:53

    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. It was just as good as the others.I think Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World was next on my list, but I never got around to it, because of that block. I had heard a bunch of good things about this book, so I was excited about it, but I couldn't take anymore lonely male protagonists taken on a mysterious ride where he himself didn't know what the mission was, but knew it involved a woman in his life disappearing, or some such variation on that theme.If I'd went ahead and read this book then, I might have liked it a lot, because it doesn't follow that mold as closely. It's the only one I've read with alternating chapters/storylines and it's the only one where things get weird from the very start instead of starting normal and slowly getting weirder.But I didn't read it then. I read it now, in 2010, and I feel like I've gotten over my Murakami phase. Many passages fell flat to my ears, especially the dialogue, perhaps because of the translation? Or maybe it was flat as well in the original language? Also, the conceit felt sci-fi in a bad way, like vague and unconvincing, (INKlings?) and everything revolved around twists and turns of the plot instead of character development. These characters didn't have any depth at all, or were totally unbelievable (a 17 year old who wears all pink all the time, down to her undies?) or had totally inexplicable motivations for their actions, and even the narrator didn't feel real to me even though I'm in his head reading his thoughts.On the positive side, there were some ideas that were interesting to me. Like this one (please try to ignore the professor's phony accent...that's not the "positive part" I'm trying to show):"The encyclopedia wand's a theoretical puzzle, like Zeno's paradox. The idea is t'engrave the entire encyclopedia onto a single toothpick. Know how you do it?""You tell me.""You take your information, your encyclopedia text, and you transpose it into numerics. You assign everything a two-digit number, periods and commas included. 00 is a blank, A is 01, B is 02, and so on. Then after you've lined them all up, you put a decimal point before the whole lot. So now you've got a very long sub-decimal fraction. 0.173000631... Next, you engrave a mark at exactly that point along the toothpick. If 0.50000's your exact middle on the toothpick, then 0.3333's got t'be a third of the way from the tip. You follow?""Sure.""That's how you can fit data of any length in a single point on a toothpick. Only theoretically, of course. No existin' technology can actually engrave so fine a point. But this should give you a perspective on what tautologies are like. Say time's the length of your toothpick. The amount of information you can pack into it doesn't have anything t'do with the length. Make the fraction as long as you want. It'll be finite, but pretty near eternal. Though if you make it a repeatin' decimal, why, then it is eternal. You understand what that means? The problem's the software, no relation to the hardware. It could be a toothpick or a two-hundred-meter timber or the equator - doesn't matter. Your body dies, your consciousness passes away, but your thought is caught in the one tautological point an instant before, subdividin' for an eternity. Think about the koan: An arrow is stopped in flight. Well, the death of the body is the flight of the arrow. It's makin' a straight line for the brain. No dodgin' it, not for anyone. People have t'die, the body has t'fall. Time is hurlin' that arrow forward. And yet, like I was sayin', thought goes on subdividin' that time for ever and ever. The paradox becomes real. The arrow never hits.""In other words," I said, "immortality.""There you are. Humans are immortal in their thought. Though strictly speakin', not immortal, but endlessly, asymptotically close to immortal. That's eternal life."Towards the middle of this book, I was convinced that there would be a plot twist at the end where you would find out that the "real" world was the End of the World and the "world in his head" would actually be the one where the professor and the chubby girl lived. This ending never came to pass (I'm thankful, cause I hate guessing endings correctly), but reading another reviewer (Eccentric Muse), I realized a related and cogent point: the unicorn world was written in a much more believable way than the sci-fi tokyo supposedly real world. If this was a conscious decision on Murakami's part, he wasn't able to pull it together to make it look intentional. Instead, it just felt like some really bad writing. What gives?

  • Nuno
    2019-05-27 18:46

    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-middle-of-an-odd-woman-trying-to-escape-from-a-rather-queer-situation-again' immediately flood into my mind. Withal, I'm happy it turned out to be exactly like that. The thing is that, when it comes to Murakami, you always know what to expect but then again you never know what the fuck he is up to. The crossing of both worlds is perfectly made despite the fact that they're only plugged near the end. It is funny how the so-called End of the World happens to be such an (un)pure place, where everything happens to be nothing and where good doesn't meet bad, nor vice versa, which wouldn't seem so redundant after all.Sci-fi never hit me that hard - just kidding, it really did - but this one, oh my, this one. I honestly don't know how one can master so many different subjects as this man does. His 'Encyclopedia Wand' shit was just. (I can't really find a word so I'll just make use of < just > as if it was an adjective. But yeah, the point is: it's good.). I just can say no bad about this. I held my pee for the last 30 pages, just so I wouldn't have to get off of my bed and stop reading this - it gets really thrilling and believe me, at some point, you'll scarcely be able to stop, which, according to my point of view, includes torturing your bladder.