Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World

Once upon a time, while bouldering, I saw a tattoo.  It was a large block of text on his right forearm, so I asked what it was about.  He told me it was a section from a book.  When I asked the obvious follow-up question, I heard that this youngish guy had a page from Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World tattooed on his body forever.  That was the most potent book recommendation I have ever received, I had to find a copy and read it, if only to validate that climber’s life choices.

“I never trust people with no appetite. It’s like they’re always holding something back on you.”

Many months later, I borrowed the book from the library.  I just finished reading the story tonight, and it was strange.  I read a fair bit, so I have encountered strange literature before.  I wasn’t offended or repelled by its oddness, but it bears repeating that this novel was more than a little bit weird.

“You got to know your limits. Once is enough, but you got to learn. A little caution never hurt anyone. A good woodsman has only one scar on him. No more, no less.”

I find it difficult to describe, and I fear that I would degrade the story if I gave you any hint as to its meaning.  However, if you, like me, find the fact that someone would have an entire forearm covered in words from this story for the rest of their natural life to be a compelling reason to read the novel that impacted them so strongly, then by all means, go for it.

“Life’s no piece of cake, mind you, but the recipe’s my own to fool with.”

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Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World

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