Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Hard-boiled Wonderland and the End of the World by Haruki Murakami

Keywords: mystery, surreal, science fiction
My Rating: ★★★★☆ story, ★★★★★ narration

by Haruki Murakami
read by Adam Sims, Ian Porter

Publisher's summary:
"Information is everything in Hard-boiled Wonderland. A specialist encrypter is attacked by thugs with orders from an unknown source, is chased by invisible predators, and dates an insatiably hungry librarian who never puts on weight. In the End of the World a new arrival is learning his role as dream-reader. But there is something eerily disquieting about the changeless nature of the town and its fable-like inhabitants. Told in alternate chapters, the two stories converge and combine to create a novel that is surreal, beautiful, thrilling and extraordinary."

I wholeheartedly agree with the last sentence of that summary. The stories are beautifully told, both visually and intellectually engaging, and unlike anything I've ever read or listened to before. The narration has a quite markedly hetero-masculine flair to it, especially when it comes to descriptions of and interactions with the female characters, but this didn't really bother me, just made me roll my eyes a couple of times. Both of the narrators are pleasant to listen to, fluent and actually invested in the story - they do all the voices and accentuate the atmosphere by changing intonation, tone of voice, rhythm of speech etc. as befits the different situations and characters. This was my first book by Haruki Murakami, and I will absolutely be seeking out more of them in audio form to listen to while cross stitching.