Oh look, another Murakami book! If it is any consolation I can promise that this will be the last one for a while (although there is another one or two I have been meaning to get through…). In any case, I believe Hard-Boiled is the principal Murakami text to read. With the narrative oscillating between the two selves of the protagonist: that of the informal and formal “I,” the narration shifts from a futuristic Tokyo where the protagonist “Calcutec” (someone who shuffles data and encodes it for clients so as to prevent it from being stolen) attempting to prevent his own perpetual mental death, and that of a somber existence of a pre-industrial world mixed with fantasy and depression. Each tone contributes to the story differently and play off of one another to the extent that you could carefully critique this novel in a semiotic fashion and still find a plethora of content in each subsequent read through in each varied critical approach. I contend that for anyone even slightly interested in reading something by Murakami you should pick this book up first before any other. If you enjoy fiction, sci-fi, fantasy and off-beat Japanese oddities, then you won’t regret it. Promise.