Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World

I love this book, and can’t wait to re-read it soon. I’ll even try to force the book on some of my friends, just so I can talk about it. Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World is written with two separate narratives, seemingly un-related at first, that keep converging as the book progresses. One set in a futuristic Tokyo, smack in the middle of some information wars. The other set in a peaceful little walled-in town at the end of the world. I can’t explain it without giving away the whole story, so I’m not gonna. I love the characters in this book. Murakami employs one particular style of writing that I just adore—not giving us any character names at all. The narrator’s just the narrator, the librarian is just the librarian and the gatekeeper’s just the gatekeeper. People are their roles. Haruki Murakami seems like a wonderful author. Will get more of his books as soon as humanly possible. He keeps inserting little pop-culture tid-bits into the story, which would almost be annoying if he weren’t so good at it. Here’s one example:
“Say, isn’t that Bob Dylan you have on?” “Right. Positively 4th Street.” “I can tell Bob Dylan in an instant,” she said. “Because his harmonica’s worse than Stevie Wonder’s?” She laughed again. Nice to know I could still make someone laugh. “No, I really like his voice,” she said, “It’s like a kid standing at the window watching the rain.”
How can’t you love writing like that? Especially when you (almost) feel the same way. The thing I love most about Dylan is his voice. Everyone gets drawn into his songs due to his amazing lyrics at first, and almost no body likes his singing initially. After some time though, once you get used to him, even a chorus of angels won’t be a match for his voice. It’s got that warm quality that draws you in, if you know what I mean. Here’s another similar conversation:
“Ever read The Brothers Karamazov?” I asked. “Once, a long time ago.” “Well, toward the end, Alyosha is speaking to a young student named Kolya Krasotkin. And he says, ‘Kolya, you’re going to have a miserable future. But overall, you’ll have a happy life.’ I first read that, I didn’t know what Alyosha meant,” I said. “How was it possible for a life of misery to be happy overall? But then I understood, that misery could be limited to the future.”
Seems like I keep finding references to The Brothers Karamazov in every other book I read. The second-hand copy I picked up on the streets is missing a few pages, so I haven’t gone around to reading it yet. Maybe I should get another copy.

Comments (3)