Different, but still good. — 5 years ago
I’ve been a fan of Murakami for the past few years, and I’ve read just about all of his novels and short stories. That being said, Hard-Boiled Wonderland was actually one of my favorites because it feels so different from the others. There’s something completely un-Murakami about it, while at the same time the tone and style of the writing and translation couldn’t have been written by anyone else.
The structure of the novel is fairly interesting, alternating between two different narratives whose connections are – naturally – revealed much later. Reminded me of Memento in a way. Again, it makes for a very different feel more along the lines of The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle.
There were some problems I had, but mainly it’s that the characters in Murakami novels are all so similar that it’s hard to tell them apart. Characters that I thought were from one novel are from a different one, and such. The ones in Hard-Boiled Wonderland are very much the same, with their knowledge of literature and jazz, their love of coffee and whiskey, and 1950s American movie references. Ah, well.
Hard Boiled Wonderland is still one of Murakami’s better novels, certainly up there with Wind-Up Bird and Norwegian Wood. It’ll keep you entertained and curious throughout, though a lot of people seem to be turned off by the addition of science fiction and fantasy elements. Don’t let that deter you – it’s worth a read.