Hard-boiled Wonderland and the End of the World - by Haruki Murakami

Joe's GoodReads Rating

“… 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:


Joe Enns

Joe Enns Art is a website showing the oil paintings of Joe Enns, an Oil Painter and Fisheries Biologist located on Vancouver Island, British Columbia and the Pacific Northwest. This website is dedicated to showing the beauty of the natural world, developing oil painting skills, as well as, fisheries and stream conservation and restoration.