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The Hard-boiled Wonderland and the End of the World Hardcover – 16 Sep 1991


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Hardcover, 16 Sep 1991
£137.14 £29.98

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Hamish Hamilton Ltd (16 Sep 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0241131448
  • ISBN-13: 978-0241131442
  • Product Dimensions: 21.8 x 13.5 x 3.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (72 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,421,264 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

52 of 53 people found the following review helpful By AR VINE VOICE on 4 Aug 2003
Format: Paperback
This is a beautiful book written in Murakami's usual lyrical style that brilliantly conveys the depths and complexities of the human consciousness. It is best described as a combination of genres, including fantasy, science-fiction and detective story, but really it is about one man's journey of self-discovery when he learns that the End of the World is near.
Murakami easily combines two stories that are full of surprises and compliment each other perfectly as the book progresses. The alternating chapters make the book easy to read and they also prove Murakami to be a skilled storyteller, as he so cleverly narrates two parallel tales. His characters are a group of striking individuals that seem at once fantastical and very real. Murakami's descriptions of a man evaluating his life and musing on what he has lost are engrossing and interesting, as well as fresh and inspired.
I loved this book and couldn't wait to start reading it again each time I put it down. I chose this book after having read another novel, Norweigan Wood, by the same author. Having read and truly loved both novels I would recommend Murakami as a brilliant and poetic storyteller with a fantastic imagination. This book is something different and definitely worth reading, even if it's not your normal type of thing!
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34 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Paul J. Bradshaw on 1 Mar 2006
Format: Paperback
This is the fourth or fifth Murakami book I've read, and quite easily the best after Norwegian Wood.
The book switches between two stories: a wonderfully curious and imaginative adventure through an alternative future-now Japan (Hard-Boiled Wonderland); and a mysterious exploration of a walled old city (the End of the World). The two stories eventually connect in a way that causes a wonderful collision of thoughts and questions in the reader's mind, but I won't give anything away by saying anything more.
Like all good dystopias, this is thoroughly well thought-through and researched; Kafkaesque comes to mind, as does Alice in Wonderland. But this is married with Murakami's postmodernist bent and a feeling that he's having as much fun as you are. Very enjoyable, totally escapist, and you'll want to dive back into this world once you've left it.
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By L. Cato on 26 Feb 2007
Format: Paperback
This book is likely to have a profound effect on anyone that reads it. There are some dreams that have a bleakness about them, a sense of jepoardy and emptiness that carries right through to the next day. You wake feeling detached from the real world and sit for hours lost in your own thoughts. This book taps into that universal feeling, that world sadness that washes over us from time to time.

Murakami manages to draw you into a place that is so different from the mundane routines we inhabit and yet so familiar. This book is compelling, it is complex, it is the human psyche turned into a story. It is, above all, an amazing novel.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By bonbonvie on 9 April 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
To my mind, this is Murakami's best book. And considering the quality of work Murakami puts out, that is really saying something.

The story is divided into two parts: The hardboiled wonderland where our protagonist is immersed in a strange world of minds that are used as encryption keys and dangerous INKlings who live to steal important data; The end of the world, where our protagonist must separate from his shadow and learn to read dreams from the skull of the mysterious creatures who live around the town.

I don't want to give away too much more about the plot because it would spoil it. This is one of those books that you need to read for yourself without knowing too much about it at the start.

Murakami excels at description and writes in two entirely separate voices for the wonderland and the end of the world, painting such a vivid picture of each that it's impossible not to get completely absorbed.

Many of his usual themes run through this book: identity crisis, the id, love/lust, and his old favourite, reconcilling two halves of a whole (I'm sure there's a better way of describing that, but I hope those of you familiar with Murakami's work will know what I mean).

This book has pretty much everything. It's sci-fi, it's fantasy, part noir thriller, sprinklings of a love story. It's exciting, touching, poignant and, in places, very funny.

If you've never read any Murakami before, this is an excellent place to start. If you have, then this book should be your next stop.

It's even more rewarding with re-reads too.
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50 of 56 people found the following review helpful By Andrew Pope on 16 Oct 2001
Format: Paperback
After the controlled realism of early-period Murakami (hard to get hold of in english), he moved into a self-conciously zany phase of writing - full of ultra-bizzare happenings and experimental plot twists. This is probably the best of those works (though 'A Wild Sheep Chase' comes a close second, with the yet-to-be-reissued 'Dance, Dance, Dance' in third place). I like this book, but like those other two it feels a little overloaded and slightly too unfocused, like he's getting something out of his system.
After these works, he wrote Norwegian Wood, in which he perfected the poised tragic realism he had written in before - and in doing so become a superstar in his native japan. He then moved on to 'third-period' Murakami, where he managed to counterpoint the weirdness of his second period properly with the sense of poised realism he had developed earlier in his early novels and "Norwegian Wood". This balancing act produced to my mind his greatest novel, "The Wind-Up Bird Chronicles" - I'd recommend that above anything else, so long as you don't mind diving in at the deep end.
But if it's weird romps and postmodern games with genre styles you're after, then I'd say this and 'A Wild Sheep Chase' are the two to look out for.
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