Murakami: Unicorns and cyberpunk

I have never read anything by Haruki Murakami (known for Kafka on the Shore and Norwegian Wood), until a friend of mine gave me one of his books a couple of weeks ago. She saw the blurb saying: “the world of the trench-coated detective and cyberpunk sci-fi”, and thought about me. It was lovely of her. That was how a copy of The Hardboiled Wonderland and The End of the World came into my possession.


The book has two storylines that alternate with each chapter: the “hard-boiled” one and “The End of the World” one. The first involves a guy, who is a Calcutec, a man able to encrypt data by passing it through his brain. He gets called in to do a job, to “shuffle” some highly important data, and finds himself in heaps of trouble. The second story takes place in a town called The End of the World surrounded by an impregnable wall, where the inhabitants have to have their shadows cut away from them, before they are allowed to enter. It’s a strange town without pain or suffering, fighting or greed, but also no love or happiness, no song. There’s also a herd of unicorns. I won’t say any more about the plot, as I would spoil it for you.

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