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Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World (Contemporary Fiction) Audio CD – Audiobook, 1 Apr 2010
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Immersing yourself in a Murakami novel is like entering into an Escher picture, an unsettling world of the mind where urban Japan, contemporary America and a nebulous 'wonderland' coexist; where oddly rootless characters seem real but anonymous, Two narratives intertwine: in one, a student newly arrived In a strange town is set to read the dreams locked In library skulls; in the other, a scientist is employed to keep invisible, information-stealing creatures at bay, The American narration with its Japanese words exactly captures the mood. --Rachel Redford, The Observer
Murakami's demanding 1991 novel, newly available on audio, features two parallel narratives reflecting on such issues as death, paranoia, information, freedom, and choice. In the first, read by Adam Sims (After the Quake), an unnamed protagonist becomes involved with an unusually helpful reference librarian, an eccentric scientist, two dangerous thugs, and even more deadly creatures living beneath Tokyo. In the second narrative, read by actor Ian Porter, a separate protagonist finds himself in a walled town and reading the dreams of others with the aid of another librarian. The narratives are told in alternating chapters and gradually intersect. Sims masterfully conveys his hero's bewilderment at the odd circumstances of his life, while Porter is more sombre in his performance, employing a different kind of tentativeness to convey his character's uneasy adjustment to a strange new world. This unique blend of noir, sf, and fable owes a considerable debt to Jorge Luis Borges. Fans of Murakami and offbeat literary fiction will find much to like here, as will, naturally, librarians. --Michael Adams, Library Journal
Murakami's two stories which alternate, chapter by chapter are told by two narrators, who split duties here. Ian Porter is the baritone, thoughtful and deliberative; Adam Sims is lighter spirited, flightier, and more amused by the bizarre comedy of Murakami's puzzle box. Both readers are well chosen, expertly picking their way across the minefield of this intoxicating, perplexing story. And their balancing act mimics the book's alternation of tones, styles, and stories. The recording is studded by occasional studio sound effects that are hardly necessary, but do manage to cleverly amplify the woozy, trippy disorientation of the tale. --Publishers Weekly
A wildly inventive fantasy and a meditation on the many uses of the mind from one of the world's greatest writers --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product description
Top customer reviews
As you've probably read elsewhere there are 2 narratives here side-by-side. One is the story of a data analyst in what is either an alternate or near-future Japan that starts out quite grounded and becomes more fantastic as it progresses, the other starts off as a fantasy story and follows the reverse trend of becoming more "realistic" as the hero learns more about his surroundings.
There are some brilliant concepts at work in both strands, from the "real" history of unicorns, to people detaching and living separately from their own shadows, HBW&TEOTW is never boring. It is a bit frustrating though, the central device that eventually links the two stories felt a bit shabby to me and I didn't really buy into it. One character, a supposedly genius professor, is afflicted all the way through with a bizarre redneck accent for reasons that both escaped and irritated me. Promising ideas gestate and are then quickly abandoned (the INKlings?) and this novel quite possibly has more descriptions of the preparation and consumption of food than any other by the author (and that's saying something).
Bit of a mixed bag then for me, there's certainly plenty to enjoy in Murakami's diversions and philosophical musings and many pleasingly odd set-pieces, I think it's far from the author's best work, but others may disagree!
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