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Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World
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In this hyperkinetic and relentlessly inventive novel, Japan's most popular (and controversial) fiction writer hurtles into the consciousness of the West. Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World draws readers into a narrative particle accelerator in which a split-brained data processor, a deranged scientist, his shockingly undemure granddaughter, Lauren Bacall, Bob Dylan, and various thugs, librarians, and subterranean monsters collide to dazzling effect. What emerges is simultaneously cooler than zero and unaffectedly affecting, a hilariously funny and deeply serious meditation on the nature and uses of the mind.
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About the Author

Haruki Murakami is a best-selling Japanese writer. His works of fiction and non-fiction have garnered critical acclaim and numerous awards, including the Franz Kafka Prize, the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award and the Jerusalem Prize, among others. Murakami's fiction is humorous and surreal, focusing on themes of alienation and loneliness. He is considered an important figure in postmodern literature. The Guardian praised Murakami as "among the world's greatest living novelists" for his works and achievements. Murakami is the author of 1Q84, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicles, Men Without Women and many more.

Reviews

There ought to be a name for the genre Murakami ( A Wild Sheep Chase ) has invented, and it might be the literary pyrotechno-thriller. The plot here is so elaborate that about 100 pages, one-fourth of the book, elapse before its various elements begin to fit together, but Murakami's lightning prose more than sustains the reader. Embellished with witticisms, wordplay and allusions to such figures as Stendhal heroes and Lauren Bacall, the tale is set in a Tokyo of the near future. Thanks to a wonderland of technology, an intelligence agent has had his brain implanted with a ``profoundly personal drama'' that allows him to ``launder'' and ``shuffle'' classified data, and all that he knows of the drama is its password, The End of the World. But after interference from a scientist and from the Semiotecs, a rival intelligence unit, the subconscious story is about to replace the agent's own perceptions of reality. Intertwined with the agent's attempts to understand his plight are scenes from The End of the World. Murakami's ingenuity and inventiveness cannot fail to intoxicate; this is a bravura performance. (Sept.)

"Murakami's bold willingness to go straight over the top [is] a signal indication of his genius . . . a world-class writer who has both eyes open and takes big risks." -The Washington Post Book World "He has become the foremost representative of a new style of Japanese writing: hip, cynical, highly stylized, set at the juncture of cyberpunk, postmodernism, and hard-boiled detective fiction. . . . Murakami [is] adept at deadpan wit, outrageous style." -Los Angeles Times Magazine "Fantastical, mysterious, and funny . . . a fantasy world that might have been penned by Franz Kafka." -Philadelphia Inquirer "Rich in action, suspense, odd characters and unexpected trifles . . . [a] provocative work." -The Atlantic "Murakami's gift is for ironic observations that hint at something graver. . . . He is wry, absurd, and desolate." -Los Angeles Times Book Review "[A] mix of American fun and Japanese dread." -Esquire "An intertwining DNA model of seemingly contrary elements . . . a combination of Kafka's castle, Borges's library, and the Prisoner's TV village." -Village Voice Literary Supplement "Off the wall . . . hilariously bizarre . . . splendid . . . a remarkable book . . . Alfred Birnbaum . . . has captured the crazed, surreal feel of Murakami's Japanese." -The Times (London) "His novels . . . are set on fast-forward: raucous, slangy, irreverent." -Details

The last surviving victim of an experiment that implanted the subjects' heads with electrodes that decipher coded messages is the unnamed narrator of this excellent book by Murakami, one of Japan's best-selling novelists and winner of the prestigious Tanizaki prize. Half the chapters are set in Tokyo, where the narrator negotiates underground worlds populated by INKlings, dodges opponents of both sides of a raging high-tech infowar, and engages in an affair with a beautiful librarian with a gargantuan appetite. In alternating chapters he tries to reunite with his mind and his shadow, from which he has been severed by the grim, dark ``replacement'' consciousness implanted in him by a dotty neurophysiologist. Both worlds share the unearthly theme of unicorn skulls that moan and glow. Murakami's fast-paced style, full of hip internationalism, slangy allegory, and intrigue, has been adroitly translated. Murakami is also author of A Wild Sheep Chase ( LJ 10/15/89); his new work is recommended for academic libraries and public libraries emphasizing serious contemporary fiction.-- D.E. Perushek, Univ. of Tennessee, Knoxville

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