What would you do with only 48 hours remaining of your life before retreating into a world created by the subconscious?
Set in Japan, Hard-boiled Wonderland And the End of the World by Haruki Murakami features parallel worlds created by an aged scientist and seamlesly tells two stories independent of each other, linking them towards the end.
Murakami is no stranger to Nobel Peace Prize lists for literature. He’s an international best-selling author with most of his books translated into more than 50 languages, and perhaps Japan’s best-selling author and literary export to the world.
The stories weave slowly, you read a quarter of the book before anything begins to make sense, and coagulate. It’s a style unique to Murakami.
His work is deeply intriguing and for the morbidly curious, he is your type of writer.
His writing is imaginative and explorative in nature.
He doesn’t give too much away, holding his cards close to his chest and raising the suspense level talking sci-fi, technology, and perhaps a futuristic Japan that leads to the ‘‘end of the world’’. The strength of the book lies in its gross focus on what lies in the deep recesses of the mind, begging the question “just what lies in our subconscious?”
In fact, what is the subconscious? Can we control what’s in there? To what degree does it affect our present and immediate future? How does our conscious mindfulness or lack of it affect our subconscious?
The grandpa scientist tells the lead character “the time paradox here is your mind. As you create memories, you’re creatin’ a parallel world.”
The character who launders data loves Bob Dylan and Jimi Hendrix, among others, and suffers from sleep deprivation and erectile dysfunction. Lucky for us, Murakami uses humour to make it palatable.
Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World is sometimes cold and lacking in emotion.
And the idea of the shadow as a theme can leave a reader baffled. It begs more questions than answers. However, once you get past it you begin to enjoy his fiction and the way he processes thoughts.
He’s a writer worth reading to find out what the fuss is all about.