Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World

Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World - Haruki Murakami,  Alfred Birnbaum Another amazing novel by Haruki Murakami. The book is actually two stories told in alternating chapters: "Hardboiled Wonderland" is a Chandleresque science fiction detective tale about a sort of cyber-empath that is caught between two factors, The System and The Factory which are fighting for dominance. "The End of the World" is a Kafka influenced fantasy about a town in which unicorns exists and the inhabitants are separated from their shadows. The main protagonist comes to this world with no memories and is given the job of Dream Reader. Both stories continue separately from each other until they finally merge together at the end. This is an existential novel about identity and connection, two major themes in Murakami's works. But unlike much of his writings, there is more of an ending and most, but not all, connections are tied up in a satisfying climax. While most of the authors' works have fantastical elements this is the first one I read that is actually pure science fiction/fantasy. I rate it as good as Kafka By The Shore and The Wind-up Bird Chronicles which is high praise indeed.