Unstuck in Time – “Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World”

UNSTUCK IN TIME, our virtual book club that revisits classic speculative fiction, will meet on Tuesday March 30 to discuss Haruki Murakami’s 1985 novel Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World.

Now if you don’t know, Haruki Murakami is a Japanese author who writes very popular yet very weird, very unsettling novels and short stories. He has an unmistakably unique style that explores themes like identity, alienation, and ephemerality in both haunting and humorous ways. He’s one of the best-selling writers in his home country; he won the 2006 World Fantasy Award for his novel Kafka on the Shore; and his work has been translated into over 50 languages. If you haven’t read any of his novels, you might have read some of his work in The New Yorker, where over two dozen of his short stories have been published.

Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World was originally published in Japan back in 1985, and was first published in English in 1991. One reason I chose it for UNSTUCK IN TIME this month is because it’s kind of like reading two speculative fiction novels from different genres at once. The story’s chapters alternate between a sort of high-tech, cyberpunk/noir crime story set in 1980’s Tokyo, and a more fantasy-style tale that takes place in a faraway realm where people’s shadows are forced to live unattached from their owners.

Also in this book: deranged scientists, mysterious librarians, violent thugs, subterranean monsters, Lauren Bacall, Bob Dylan, and golden unicorns whose skulls contain dreams which must be read by– actually, that part might be a bit too complicated to go into right now. But if that all sounds like an exciting and thought-provoking read to you, I hope you’ll join the discussion in UNSTUCK IN TIME on Tuesday March 30, at 7 PM. Again it’s a virtual book club, and will be held on Zoom, so you can join us from anywhere in the universe– you don’t even need to be a member of the Livingston Library. But you do have to register here to get that Zoom link on the day of the meeting.

Print copies of Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World are currently available for check-out at the Livingston Library, and you can also borrow eBook & audiobook versions with your Livingston Library card through Overdrive. Hope to see you then!

-Joe, Adult Services & Acquisitions Librarian

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