Hard-Boiled Wonderland and The End Of The World
September 20, 2012
By: Eda Tajuddin
The title is pretty insightful of what is to come, and yet it doesn’t really say anything. It is exactly this kind of cryptic confusion which will haunt you throughout the book. As my first venture into the land of Haruki Murakami, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. Even before my sister (who often finds quirky treasures) recommended this book to me, I had already heard quite a bit about Haruki Murakami – not enough to really know what he was all about, but enough to know he had something special. True to the rumours, his individuality is striking from the first page and will propel you to the end.
Using alternating chapters, Murakami ingeniously intertwines 2 different worlds, without actually allowing them to touch. He masters a realm of magical possibilities by weaving together myth and science, interspersed with a mild alcoholism, inappropriate sexual references and a voluptuous woman. As for the protagonist, his apathy to life and distance to others is frustrating, yet somehow endearing, making his adventure all the more engaging. It’s reminiscent of Camus’ L’étranger, which is mentioned in the book, along with many other references to western culture. Indeed, you are plunged into a strange and intellectual mind, which manages to rouse a simultaneously exciting and unsettling feeling. Harakumi’s vivid imagination and detailed descriptions of even the most fleeting encounters truly inspire a sense of awe, not to mention intense curiosity.
Now, I must admit, for me it wasn’t one of those can’t-put-it-down page-turners. That’s not to credit it any less though. Unlike somewhat ‘easier’ novels, with simple and often annoying characters and clichéd storylines (which I am usually a sucker for), Murakami’s novels aren’t ones to devour in one go. This one needs to be savoured. To put it simply, if you’re easily frustrated or want a mindless read, this isn’t the time to pick up Harukami. But if you want something unique and inspiring, then you might want to give him a go and decide for yourself. Personally, I will definitely be exploring more of his works.