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This review is from: Hard-Boiled Wonderland And The End Of The World (Paperback)
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.