“Music brings a warm glow to my vision, thawing mind and muscle from their endless wintering.” Haruki Murakami, Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World
Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World is the complex and wildly entertaining novel written by Japanese author, Haruki Murakami, and published in 1985. The title alone conjures up a host of images, each of which foreshadow a fragment of what unfolds in the story. The novel explores themes like hyperreality, existentialism, and technology, and is written in a style called experimental.
About Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World
The chapters alternate between two seemingly incompatible worlds held together by a metaphorical paperclip. The Calcutec, the protagonist from the odd chapters, lives and works in Tokyo and the Dreamreader, the protagonist from the even chapters, resides in a lyrical dreamland referred to as The End of the World.
The novel explores themes of language, memory, nostalgia, romance, technology, and evolution. As far as literary and critical theories go, the novel is ripe for reading alongside deconstruction, phenomenology, schizoanalysis, or psychoanalysis. It is the kind of book that is a gift that keeps on giving.
The short videos below point out some of the themes and symbolism explored in this novel. To dig deeper into this novel, you can enroll in one of Book Oblivion’s self-paced courses, Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World and Literary Theory or Murakami and Magical Realism.
There are so many layers to this work, and Murakami himself calls it his favorite novel that he’s written. Every reference is meaningful and calculated. No matter what Haruki Murakami text you read, you are likely to enjoy it more when you delve deep into the theories it evokes.
End of the World
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