“… Each individual behaves on the basis of his individual mnemonic makeup. No two human beings are alike; it’s a question of identity. And what is identity? The cognitive system arisin’ from the aggregate memories of that individual’s past experiences. The layman’s word for this is the mind…”
Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World by Haruki Murakami is a surrealist, fictional stroll through the ideas of consciousness and reality. There are two main plots that follow the same protagonist – who isn’t named – along alternate phases of his existence, or consciousness. Bizarre, dream-like scenes are criss-crossed by unexpected items like Librarians and Unicorns.
Ultimately, I did enjoy this book. I gave it only 3 stars because of the plot. I kept trying to pull together the characters and symbolism to work out reasoning in the plot, but I just didn’t get it. It might have been too magical or surreal for me. Or I missed something. I did, however, identify with the characters and enjoyed the descriptions of the scenes and the humour. Even though the book had a very ethereal plot, the writing and sentence structure was simple and easy to read.
I heard about this book when I was looking for some contemporary literature to read so I googled “top 2018 fiction”, and Murakami’s new novel, “Killing Commendatore”, came up. It looked interesting, but it was too expensive for me in hardcover, so I decided to try one of his paperbacks instead because I am too cheap.
If you found this book interesting, here are a number of other books I have read that you may also be interested in: