Started Hard Boiled Wonderland and The End of the World by Murakami (Adam Bede got put aside because D seems more interested in talking Proust than Eliot, and I’m in the mood for something more pomo experimental and less Victorian at the moment).

Interesting concept: alternate chapters deal with a character’s experiences in two apparently different stories, but as you read on, you notice connections – certain key words and phrases – between the two worlds. I’m pretty certain that the narrator is the same person in each story, but that The End of the World deals with an alternate universe that the machinations of Hard Boiled Wonderland have trapped him in. Hard Boiled Wonderland is a sci-fi-ish manga-type story about a scientist living underground who has found a way to control ambient soundwaves, and the encryption expert sent to help him protect his discovery.

There are the usual Murakami themes – divorce, loneliness, helpful, enigmatic young women who don’t mind leaping into bed with the hero at a second’s notice, exile, food and a fascination with detective stories. And I’m sure this guy is going to have to spend some time down a well at some point…


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