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Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World [Audio]
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Immersing yourself in a Murakami novel is like entering into an Escher picture, an unsettling world of the mind where urban Japan, contemporary America and a nebulous 'wonderland' coexist; where oddly rootless characters seem real but anonymous, Two narratives intertwine: in one, a student newly arrived In a strange town is set to read the dreams locked In library skulls; in the other, a scientist is employed to keep invisible, information-stealing creatures at bay, The American narration with its Japanese words exactly captures the mood. - Rachel Redford, The Observer Murakami's demanding 1991 novel, newly available on audio, features two parallel narratives reflecting on such issues as death, paranoia, information, freedom, and choice. In the first, read by Adam Sims (After the Quake), an unnamed protagonist becomes involved with an unusually helpful reference librarian, an eccentric scientist, two dangerous thugs, and even more deadly creatures living beneath Tokyo. In the second narrative, read by actor Ian Porter, a separate protagonist finds himself in a walled town and reading the dreams of others with the aid of another librarian. The narratives are told in alternating chapters and gradually intersect. Sims masterfully conveys his hero's bewilderment at the odd circumstances of his life, while Porter is more sombre in his performance, employing a different kind of tentativeness to convey his character's uneasy adjustment to a strange new world. This unique blend of noir, sf, and fable owes a considerable debt to Jorge Luis Borges. Fans of Murakami and offbeat literary fiction will find much to like here, as will, naturally, librarians. - Michael Adams, Library Journal Murakami's two stories - which alternate, chapter by chapter - are told by two narrators, who split duties here. Ian Porter is the baritone, thoughtful and deliberative; Adam Sims is lighter spirited, flightier, and more amused by the bizarre comedy of Murakami's puzzle box. Both readers are well chosen, expertly picking their way across the minefield of this intoxicating, perplexing story. And their balancing act mimics the book's alternation of tones, styles, and stories. The recording is studded by occasional studio sound effects that are hardly necessary, but do manage to cleverly amplify the woozy, trippy disorientation of the tale. - Publishers Weekly

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