Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World by Haruki Murakami
The book comes from Chris’ collection and I finally picked it up from the little pile of books I have left here with me in Manchester. The title did not entice me because of the End of the World bit. I am not a big fan of the topic. I didn’t realize this until a few years ago when I saw some crap movies one after another about the end of the world and I started getting nightmares from them. Since then I tend to avoid movies that display any mass destruction.
The book has a stronger fantastic side to it compared with my past lectures. The story alternates between two worlds: one in the modern underground of Tokyo and the second one at the end of the world. I enjoyed both storylines, the eccentricity and fast pace of the first one intertwined with the claustrophobia and monotony of the second one. Oddly enough it wasn’t a long stretch of my imagination to have a secret laboratory hidden through the tunnels of the Tokyo subway where odd creatures lurked around trying to break in and agents specialized in decoding algorithms would just pop by to earn some extra cash.
The second storyline gripped me more. The big inescapable Wall, the Woods with its scary secrets, the skulls, all combined with the deceiving peace of the snow were enough reasons to make this universe the greater curiosity of the two. Here I also I found a strange connection with my previous read, The Teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi. At the entrance into the town/village, the character gets separated from his shadow as part of a process that leads to the death of his worldly self. So while my previous book spoke of Self-Inquiry, here comes my next read where I find the death of one’s self. This made me think that not remembering my experiences, thoughts, stupid mistakes, marvellous ideas, people I loved, people who made me laugh or cry, would be unimaginable. While a healthy detachment of my worldly self is welcome I would never want to wipe everything out in exchange of a peace of mind that resembles more to numbness than anything else. The separation from the shadow was painful and harsh. I was anxious for it to keep strong and to survive. But enough said. I have to remind myself when writing these little blurbs that they are not book reviews nor are they summaries. They are an expression of their footprint in my life. In this process I try to remember that I should not reveal too much about the content of the book. I may ruin it for my faithful followers… mom for sure hasn’t read it yet ☺
My friend Nicu visited us a couple of weeks ago and he is an avid reader of SF and fantasy literature. He was looking at a pile of books I had stocked up waiting for their turn to be written about and he challenged me to read one of his recommendations. I defended my choices but then I thought why not accept some different suggestions. At the end of the day no lecture is a bad lecture. Of course this challenge extends both ways. I said I will give him one to read and he shall give me one. So, Nicu, here it is, this is a book I think you will enjoy … so dig in. Now be gentle and don’t throw some “Dark Invader”, Star Trek complex story at me.
Oh, I should also thank Nicu and Cristina for pushing me to join goodreads. Seems like a great tool to boost you reading ego by going through the number of books you have read. A better metric than the number of friends/acquaintances you can gather on Facebook. Leaving vanity aside there are two things I really like about it. One, you can get recommendations and it is fun to look at them, and second you can follow the author.
In the meantime I would like to thank my shadow for taking care of me and on I go to the gym to get ready to fight some inklings.