Friday, September 22, 2017

‘Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World’ by Haruki Murakami

22 September 2017

Regular readers will know I am a big fan of the Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami. Earlier this year I spotted a couple of early Murakami novels I hadn’t read in a charity shop in Great Malvern. One of these was his 1985 novel ‘Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World’ which I have just finished reading. This book has all the usual Murakami elements – a contemporary real-world Japan setting into which magical realism starts to intrude, a parallel fantasy world and a host of Western cultural references. Murakami is probably an acquired taste – particularly in relation to his reluctance to tie up the loose ends of his incredibly weird plots. ‘Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World’ resolves more satisfyingly that many of his books but it’s still a very peculiar plot. I love the quirkiness and unpredictability of a Murakami novel and the seriousness with which he, and his characters, take their musical references – in this case, for example, discussing the merits of various different recordings of the ‘Brandenburg Concertos’. But if you are new to Haruki Murakami I would still suggest starting by reading 'Kafka on the Shore' (reviewed here in October 2006).



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