Hard-Boiled Wonderland CoverI had seen Haruki Murakami novels of book store shelves years before I bought my first. Quite a few of my friends had read one or more and warmly recommended his works. So I finally bought one of his novels a few months back. The title simply took me by surprise: Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World. An interesting combination of words as Joanna Young mentioned on Twitter. And you can’t imagine what a special sound it has in Romanian!

This is the story of two very different worlds: the first one, Hard-Boiled Wonderland, is what the world we know is supposed to be: modern Tokyo ruled by a war over information. Its System governs everything and sends out its Computecs (human data processor/encryption systems whose unique encryption key is their mind) in search for fresh information, while the Semiotecs, who are mostly fallen Computecs are trying to steal data from them. Incredible research and modern technology mixed with underground, human eating creatures of extraordinary and terrifying beliefs, the INKlinkgs.

The second world, the End of the World, is actually a city surrounded by a dark wall, where everyone has their given place and follow strict rules. Unicorns come inside the city every day and have to leave it at night. No one can leave the city and once you arrive there, you are separated from your shadow. The shadow dies and once it’s dead, you lose your soul. Every rule seems normal to the inhabitants, no one doubts them or even things of changing them.

Haruki Murakami creates two amazing worlds and takes readers by surprise with the twisted yet clear plot, the complex possibilities and the simple life choices characters make. I’d tell you more of this troubling book, but I’m afraid I’d allow too many important details to be guessed, when discovering them page after page is much more entertaining. If you come across this book, you should definitely read it and let me know what you’ve thought of it.

Disclaimer: I haven’t given up on the initial challenge, but as my glasses are broken and it takes three weeks to get new ones, each book might take longer than a week 🙁

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