Title: Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World
Author: Haruki Murakami
Page Count/Review Word Count: 404
This one’s a difficult one to review because it’s so bizarre, and indeed that’s something of a barrier-to-entry to begin with. It took me a hundred pages or so to get absorbed in the story, and I actually started it out as a bedtime book because I wasn’t too excited about it. But then I got hooked, and by the end of it I was enjoying it, although I still didn’t really know what was going on.
That’s kind of a good thing though, because it means you could pick it up for a second and a third time and find something new every time. But at the same time, it was also pretty good just on the initial read, and it almost reminded me of Stephen King’s Dark Tower books, although King’s series is a lot better.
Part of the problem here might be the translation, which in this instance was done by Alfred Birnbaum. I’ve never heard of the guy before, but you could definitely tell the difference between Birnbaum’s voice as a translator and Jay Rubin’s voice, who I’m more familiar with. There were even a couple of typos here and there, which I quite frankly wasn’t expecting from a book published by Vintage.
The story itself is basically a magical realism story, and it’s a genre that I’ve not had much love for historically. To be honest, I don’t think this one has changed my mind, but that’s probably not a bad thing. Some genres you love and others you don’t, and it just sucks for me that Murakami wrote so much in a genre that I don’t care for when you consider that I’m hoping to slowly work my way through all of his stuff.
And so I guess that brings me up to the end of this review, and I’m just sorry that I don’t have more to say about it. I can also see why this is a popular book amongst Murakami’s fans, and I wouldn’t rule out re-reading it again in the future. But in the meantime, I need to work my way through the rest of his stuff, and so re-reads are out for now. Wish me luck, there’s more to come.