Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World - Haruki Murakami,  Alfred Birnbaum

~~Moved from GR~~

Hardboiled Wonderland and the End of the World

by Haruki Murakami



Loved the title, hated the content. I didn't make it more than 30% in due to my absolute loathing for the narrator.

Loathing, unadulterated loathing
For your tone, your voice, your posing
Let's just say
I loathe it all!
How you describe women--it's your male gaze
It sends my anger right into a blaze
With simple utter loathing...

Seriously, just that first opening, in which he considers the "fat, beautiful" woman he's following. He comments that fat, beautiful women make him uncomfortable because he's not sure how to evaluate them--because obviously, all women must be evaluated in terms of their sexual desirability--after all, isn't that what women are for? He then proceeds to denigrate her for her eating habits while still considering her a sexual object--obviously, she's an ill-trained beast. Some man should take her in hand and whip her into shape so she can fulfil her primary function.

Other than that little detail, I find the narrative, with its constant repetition (e.g. "Do you like sandwiches?" "Yes, I like sandwiches." "I'm glad you like sandwiches." etc), its fatuous flights of fancy (e.g. the Darwinian extinction of sound), and its tiresome characters (e.g. the airheaded ice-cream eating librarian or the "fat, beautiful girl" who attempts to sell herself to our dear narrator) just don't do anything for me. I'd love someone of the Literati to explain all of the horrifically idiotic pseudoscience blasted out in dry, obnoxious infodumps by the various characters. I hate, hate, hate bad pseudoscience. I didn't really mind the shadowless dream-reader, but I really, really hate the other guy. Murakami gives his narrator a really twisted obsession with women eating, somehow directly tying it into their sexuality. Fat or thin, all women are weirdly evaluated by their eating habits as well as their weight.

Yep, I get that I'm supposed to find the narrator obnoxious and that he's channeling the hardboiled vibe. Yes, I understand it's Literature and that I should read the farce as something greater. Yes, I understand that I'm reading it at a very literal level. Yes, I understand that I'm not giving the book a fair chance.

I don't care.

It's not for me.