Hard-boiled wonderland and the end of the world

a novel

400 pages

English language

Published Jan. 5, 1993 by Vintage Books.

OCLC Number:

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3 stars (1 review)

7 editions

Review of 'Hard-boiled wonderland and the end of the world' on 'Goodreads'

3 stars

This was my first Murakami and I understand it's an early work but:

--As science fiction, I found it rather ponderous.

--As a novel, it lacked characterization.

--I was immediately whacked over the head by the narrator's casual sexism (oh look, a fat girl who unexpectedly gives me a hard-on. Let's just call her "the chubby girl" for the rest of the book and pretend I'm chivalrous for not sleeping with her because she's 17.)

--the plot seemed like a big McGuffin.

Overall the writing was occasionally lovely but often unpolished (translator may be at fault here). Some nice descriptive passages and perceptions, but the dialog is like a parody, swinging between curt Chandleresque hard-boiledness (see title), information dumps, and speeches. There's a painful chapter where the narrator goes on a date and helpfully lists the full Italian name of every dish ordered, plus all the liquor brands, and lectures …