Teaser Tuesdays – Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World


I think this book might be too smart for me, or may be I am not smart enough for this book. Anyway, here’s a longish teaser that made my head spin a bit.

The encyclopedia wand’s a theoretical puzzle, like Zeno’s paradox. The idea is t’engrave the entire encyclopedia onto a single toothpick. Know how you do it?”

“You tell me.”

“You take your information, your encyclopedia text, and you transpose it into numerics. You assign everything a two-digit number, periods and commas included. 00 is a blank, A is 01, B is 02, and so on. Then after you’ve lined them all up, you put a decimal point before the whole lot. So now you’ve got a very long sub-decimal fraction. 0.173000631… Next, you engrave a mark at exactly that point along the toothpick. If 0.50000’s your exact middle on the toothpick, then 0.3333’s got t’be a third of the way from the tip. You follow?”


“That’s how you can fit data of any length in a single point on a toothpick. Only theoretically, of course. No existin’ technology can actually engrave so fine a point. But this should give you a perspective on what tautologies are like. Say time’s the length of your toothpick. The amount of information you can pack into it doesn’t have anything t’do with the length. Make the fraction as long as you want. It’ll be finite, but pretty near eternal. Though if you make it a repeatin’ decimal, why, then it is eternal. You understand what that means? The problem’s the software, no relation to the hardware. It could be a toothpick or a two-hundred-meter timber or the equator – doesn’t matter. Your body dies, your consciousness passes away, but your thought is caught in the one tautological point an instant before, subdividin’ for an eternity. 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.”

“In other words,” I said, “immortality.”

“There you are. Humans are immortal in their thought. Though strictly speakin’, not immortal, but endlessly, asymptotically close to immortal. That’s eternal life.

~ Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World by Haruki Murakami

Anyone read this book? I am struggling a little bit with it at this moment 🙁

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
  • Pingback: Japanese Literature Reading Challenge? And me? | Nishita's Rants and Raves()

  • Raviteja

    A good teaser. By the way, if anyone want best prices for books, go to MyDeals247.com they create competition among the sellers instantaneously

  • Maria@Queen of All She Reads

    Definitely beyond me….lol….good teaser though. Good luck with the rest of the book.

    Here’s my Teaser Tuesday

  • Beth F

    definitely not light reading.

    • @Beth F: definitely not. But at the same time, it’s only small portions of the book that go like this. The entire book is not so tough

  • Haven’t tread it but it sounds interesting, deep even? I prefer witches and vampires…lol Hope it gets better for you.


    • Well, this one deals with unicorns… Not quite there, but close, right? 😉

      • @Fer_: oh, yes, those unicorns. LOL! This is my first book featuring unicorns 🙂

  • i haven’t read any of murakami’s books but this teaser looks interesting

    my teaser tuesday

  • Yep, head spinning alright! Maybe this author isn’t for me, although I’ve heard good things about him from literary mags. 🙁

  • Cyn

    This is one of my favourite books! It’s a little confusing, but from what I remember, it becomes clearer as you read more and can find the parallel between the two stories. (Truth be told, I’ve read quite a few of Murakami’s work, and most of it I always feel like I’m struggling, yet I keep reading them haha)

    Here’s my teaser at Bookmunchies (:

    • @Cyn: Glad to read you liked this book very much. I am slowly getting sucked into it. It takes some getting used to…the two completely different storylines but I like the style and I like that it makes me think 🙂

      Thanks for visiting and commenting!

  • It’s too much for me too! I read for escape and enjoyment, so this doesn’t sound like a book I’d like.
    My Teaser is from THE COMEBACK KISS.

  • Hi Nish! I read that book, after much coaxing from a friend. I don’t know why she wanted to force such a thick book onto me! Not only did I have trouble keeping up, but the ending is so far from rewarding it felt like a waste of time.

    I say, put Wonderland aside and pick up Kafka on the Shore instead: to me, that is a much better choice for a Murakami newbie 😉

  • I’ve read most of Murakami’s work as he is one of my favourite authors but this one sounds particularly surreal and I have yet to try it myself! Good luck!

    • @alittleblogofbooks: Oops, looks like I scheduled my post a day early 🙂

      This one really is surreal. I have read only one previous book – Sputnik Sweetheart that I didn’t really get. So far this book is more my style, but some of the “sci-fi” sections like this one make my head spin a bit.

%d bloggers like this: