Magical realism

Magical realism is a literary style in which fantastical and mythological themes are exploited to appear realistic. Haruki Murakami's novel "Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World" can be classified as a fantasy mystery. The essay will define magical realism and determine whether the novel falls into it. Although being Japanese, Murakami writes with a feeling of the Latin-American culture of magical realism (Murakami 12). The novel is fantastic, even though many readers find it strange. However, an understanding of the text makes the audience come to terms with the style Murakami was using of magical realism. It is evident that the novel is a magical realism and the best Murakami would do in history.

The novel is composed of two different stories. The two seem fantastical and the events happening can be considered as impossible but realistic (Murakami 25). The plotline of the narrative is apparently out of the realm of science fiction. The title appears to form part of the detective fiction. However, the presentation is classic and realistic. The narrative is written in two related worlds; that is the future world of Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the dreamland End of the World. Murakami stories can be considered as trademarks of the postmodernism that is associated with magical realism. Moreover, the novel is characterized by allusions and fantasies. For example, “Danny Boy” and the “Unicom skulls” anchor the style of magical realism to the elusive aspects of the book (Murakami 37).

Besides, the magical realism can be explained by considering the theme of the book. The author brings an aspect of two different worlds and tries to make the readers understand the message he wanted to communicate. Murakami draws the audience in a world of consciousness and unconsciousness of the mind. For instance, the Hard-Boiled Wonderland is a representation of the Calcutec life as an encryption machine while the "End of the World" talks of the subconscious world (Murakami 82). The author narrates the two stories in alternating chapters as he tries to make the audience understand the mystery that connects the narratives. “Hard-Boiled Wonderland” is likened to the homage of Raymond Chandler and the science fiction. On the contrary, “End of the World” brings one to the subconscious thinking and actions (Murakami 123). Many experiments have been done on the narrator's mind to separate the conscious from the unconscious minds. The operations described appear to be fantasy and mystery despite being realistic to the author. The audience may be left wondering how one can be able to separate minds and thinking from people. This appears to be fantasy and supernatural while it seems like a reality with the Japanese technology. The impossible in the thinking of the people could be made a reality.

Hard-Boiled Wonderland is a science fiction tale. The story is filled with thugs and radical technology. The narrator is likened to a bird. "Unclose your mind; you are not a prisoner, you are a bird in a fight, searching the skies for dreams (Murakami 189)." Reading the novel, one will understand that Murakami first learned English by maneuvering his way through the American crime novels. Therefore, the use of the title, "hard-boiled" is not a coincidence. The author had to pass through hard times characterized by a world of unconsciousness to fulfill his dream. Being likened to a bird in the sky in search of its dreams elaborates on the importance of existing in a fantasy world where an individual unconsciously embarks on something to achieve their dream. The narrator’s participation in crimes shows his existence in a magical world that is real and leads him in achieving his goals. Moreover, the author compares himself to the boat. “Once when I was younger, I thought I would be someone else, but like a boat with a twisted rudder, I kept coming back to the same place (Murakami 278).” the narrator feels that he was not going anywhere, he was waiting for himself on the shore to return. The world of fantasy may make one remain stagnant and unconscious of their behavior. It is the mystery for an individual to wait for themselves, though, this was the reality with the narrator.

Furthermore “The End of World” takes a mythological and fabulistic turn. For instance, Murakami reluctantly abandons his shadow that is kept confined on the outskirts of the town. However, the shadow grows sick because it had been separated from the organic body. A shadow is a factual image that is not capable of growing ill. It is a representation of the unconscious world. However, the explanations see reality because, once something is separated from the actual body, and it has to grow sick. The fantasy makes Murakami, the shadowless hero to take the role of a "Dream reader (Murakami 352).” He extracts remnants of memories from the skulls of unicorns. It seems a mystery to do the work of recovering memories; however, the action sounds logical and real especially with the Japanese technology that was in place the time Murakami wrote the novel. To achieve his goal, the narrator forges a relationship with a lady librarian. Besides, he continues to conspire with his shadow. A shadow is an inanimate object that is unable to communicate. Therefore, the author use of fantasy to appear as reality is an example of magical realism. Murakami tries to connect the two plots in the novel by seeking an explanation to all strange scientific incidences in the book. This is not achieved because storytelling is always accompanied by magic (Murakami 391). The fantasy Murakami uses offers a different twist in understanding magical realism. The scientific, magical objects in the book see the piece as vague despite having a broad audience reading and liking the novel.

“Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World” has been considered as a weird book by many readers across the globe. Despite the strangeness of the narration, the readers have to understand that the book was written to deliberately manipulate the understanding of the readers broadly and formally (Murakami 411). Therefore, the weirdness of the book is just the magical realism style Murakami uses in his book. The use of mythological objects such as the shadow, the boat, and a bird represents a factual world that is close to impossible yet a reality. Haruki Murakami novel is an example of a book that utilizes magical realism.

Work Cited

Murakami, Haruki. Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World: A Novel. Vintage International, 1993.

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