Title: Hard Boiled-Wonderland & The End of the World
Genre: Fantasy, Magical Realism, Sci-Fi, & Mystery
First Published: 1985
Where I Got It: My shelf (friend gifted it to me)
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.
Honestly, Murakami is becoming one of my favorite authors. Sadly, this was not one of my favorites. It was okay. The others ones I've read are better so far.
The beginning was slow, interesting, but slow. The jumps in the fantasy world and the "normal" world seemed awkward at times and it didn't make sense until near the end. After a while (once I understood what that fantasy world meant to the main story plot), I actually enjoyed those little fantasy point of views. I can't say, but it is important to the story plot. Honestly, it was clever how the author made the world parallel to the main story going on.
The man character was odd, but I did like him. He has a lot of little quirks that don't seem to make any sense to the story until later on.
I also liked the chubby girl. She was an odd duck and even tho she was only 17, I was rooting for them to get together, but he wasn't interested in relationships and his heart was divided between the chubby girl and the other girl (I believe she was a professor or librarian I believe). I wanted to smack the Scientist. >_> Playing around with people's brains is not cool - I totally get WHY and I'd be tempted, but still....
I think there were some translation issues from time-to-time. I would love to read this in the original language.
Oddly enough, I really did like the ending. I felt bad for the shadow and I anticipated it was going to happen (once I understood the correlation between the real world and the fantasy world), but I was hoping it wasn't going to happen. The ending, also made me understand the title of the book and especially my wanting to call this "Hard-boiled eggs". haha. The book club chuckled at me calling it that, but it makes sense. People call smart people or people stuck in their heads egg heads. And *SPOILER ALERT* the fantasy is in the main guys head. It's his own world. The "end of the world" is because one of the worlds is going to end; reality or the fantasy world. What happens to an egg when you boil it or crack it? Its the end of the life inside the egg - thus the end of the world for one of the lives in the main guy's head. It all makes sense! *END OF SPOILER* Thus my nickname for the title.
In the end, this was good. Not the best from the author's previous works I've read. I can't wait to read more! I highly encourage to start with "After Dark". The ending was good, sad, but good. There were a lot of slow spots, some translation issues, and some confusion until about halfway. Out of five stars, I shall stamp this with 3 stars. More like 2.5 but since I do not give decimals, I rounded.