Saturday, January 21, 2017

Review: Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World

Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World by Haruki Murakami
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

And after postmodernism and the crumble of men, Murakami comes to us...

“Yessir. Completely sound-free. That’s because sound is of no use to human evolution. In fact, it gets in the way. So we’re going t’wipe sound out, morning to night.”
Hmph. You’re saying there’ll be no birds singing or brooks babbling. No music?”
“ ’Course not.”
“It’s going to be a pretty bleak world, if you ask me.”
“Don’t blame me. That’s evolution. Evolution’s always hard.


I cannot tell if the thought is mine or if it has floated loose from some fragment of memory. I have lost so many things. I am so tired. I feel myself drifting, away, a little by little. I am overcome by the sensation that I am crumbling, parts of my being drifting away. Which part of me is thinking this?

You said that the mind is like the wind, but perhaps it is we who are like the wind. Knowing nothing, simply blowing through. Never aging, never dying.

My confidence is going, it’s true,” I say, dropping my eyes to the circle on the ground. “How can I be strong when I do not know my own mind? I am lost.”

“Listen. I may not be much, but I’m all I’ve got. Maybe you need a magnifying glass to find my face in my high school graduation photo. Maybe I haven’t got any family or friends. Yes, yes, I know all that. But, strange as it might seem, I’m not entirely dissatisfied with this life. It could be because this split personality of mine has made a stand-up comedy routine of it all. I wouldn’t know, would I? But whatever the reason, I feel pretty much at home with what I am. I don’t want to go anywhere. I don’t want any unicorns behind fences.”

Think about the koan: An arrow is stopped in flight. Well, the death of the body is the flight of the arrow. It’s makin’ a straight line for the brain. No dodgin’ it, not for anyone. People have t’die, the body has t’fall. Time is hurlin’ that arrow forward. And yet, like I was sayin’, thought goes on subdividin’ that time for ever and ever. The paradox becomes real. The arrow never hits.”

The sky was deep and brilliant, a fixed idea beyond human doubt. From my position on the ground, the sky seemed the logical culmination of all existence. The same with the sea. If you look at the sea for days, the sea is all there is. Quoth Joseph Conrad. A tiny boat cut loose from the fiction of the ship. Aimless, inescapable, inevitable.

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