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Thirty-Second Book Reviews #2: Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World

25 January 2016 13:23 EST under
Thirty-Second Book Reviews

(Haruki Murakami, 1985)

A man known only by his profession as a "Calcutec," whose consciousness has been altered to allow him to mentally apply a truly unbreakable encryption to data, has a shocking fate revealed to him while savage thugs seek the information in his head. Meanwhile, at the End of the World, an unnamed man whose shadow has been forcibly removed begins his new life reading old dreams from the skulls of dead unicorn-like beasts.

...yeah. I know.

Every bit as zany as it sounds, the novel comprises two stories that inexorably converge amidst the surreal landscapes and bizarre sexuality that only Murakami can create. At its core, it's a novel about the nature of consciousness and its role as a timeless, self-contained universe. It's fast-paced, funny, thought-provoking, and even manages to tug the old heartstrings a bit.

My edition, here on Amazon. ~400 pages.

9/10: this may be my favorite Murakami novel. It's the perfect length, moves along at a good clip, is unwaveringly bizarre, and doesn't contain a single unlikable character.

High points: the Calcutec complaining repeatedly about his door to the men who broke it down; the discovery of music at the End of the World.

Low point: when the librarian is reading book/encyclopedia passages about unicorns to the Calcutec, it's a real snooze-fest.