A clerk in a Tokyo of the near future works in an organization that controls the flow of information to society--employing electronic brainwashing and other insidious techniques--a job that contributes to his increasing sense of dehumanization
Murakami's postmodern venture into science-fiction territory won the Tanizaki Prize, Japan's equivalent of the Pulitzer. In a near-future Japan, the nameless protagonist is a man who has had his brain surgically altered by his employer, the Calcutecs, to encrypt data in a special way. The new client requesting his services turns out to be the extremely eccentric scientist who invented the operation. Suddenly, the protagonist becomes central to a battle among the Calcutecs; their rivals, the Semiotecs; and miscellaneous independent operators intent on gaining control of the scientist's research and getting their hands on a gift given to the protagonist by the scientist: a unicorn skull. This science-fictional story is interleaved with what seems to be a fantasy narrative, in which a nameless protagonist comes to stay in a walled Town where unicorns live and people's shadows have an independent, but weak, existence. This protagonist is assigned the job of "reading dreams"--i.e., picking up psychic impressions--from skulls, and spends his spare time puzzling out what the Town is, how he got there, and how to leave.
- Fiction + Literature Themes, Fiction + Literature Genres
- Literary, Conflicts + Dualities, Literary Genres + Types of Novels, Types of Characters
- Reprint / Translation
- March 1, 1993
- March 1, 1993
- Haruki Murakami