Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World & Literary Theory

Dive deeper into the theories and philosophies in Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World.

The Reading Beyond Murakami course series invites students and fans of Murakami to dive even deeper into his fiction. We discuss basic literary elements like character, plot, and setting to reach a full understanding of each novel or story. Then we spend time discussing thinkers, theorists, and philosophers beyond Murakami to learn about the major ideas that influence each novel. The novel discussed in the first section is Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World.

In each course, we study and examine everything from Greek tragedies to modern psychology to linguistics and beyond. Our goal here is to explore complex ideas in simple terms just like Murakami does in his stories. There is no expectation of prior knowledge of these subjects, nor prior reading of Murakami. A suggested reading schedule for the novel is provided that will accompany weekly discussions and supplemental reading, but students can also complete each unit at their own pace. This fully online Murakami course allows readers to learn more about him from the comfort of their own homes.

What am I Going to Get From This Course?

You will deepen your appreciation of Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World and understand some of the more dominant themes that Murakami explores. Stories are designed to entertain, but they are far more amusing when fully understood. While Murakami is a popular author and has a sort of cult following, readers are rarely given the chance to unpack his work in a community or learn about it beyond a few online book reviews. This course brings readers and ideas together for a dynamic and low-pressure educational experience.

Simple Structure

One of the most difficult parts of studying critical and literary theories and philosophies is the impossible to understand language. The goal of this course is to penetrate that language and break it down in simple terms. Three core concepts are explored in each novel: the unconscious, memory, and metaphor. Beyond these concepts, each novel presents particular themes and circumstances to analyze and interpret. We slowly build the foundation for the concepts based on the thinker it stems from and decide how the idea is meant to function within the novel.

Video Tutorials

Each unit includes video presentations and a workbook to walk you through the hard-to-grasp concepts and will explore their direct correlation to the novel. We also examine what is called the "literary afterlife" of the ideas present in his novels. In other words, we look at contemporary culture, books, movies, and music influenced by Murakami to strengthen your understanding of the ideas presented and find their manifestations in culture.

Live Q&As

Live question and answer webinars are included in the course. Students can ask questions and get real time feedback on the novel and the material presented.

Supplemental Reading

An extended reading list is provided for each unit, linking to articles, interviews, and other works that relate to the concepts discussed. If you find you can never learn enough about Murakami, these resources will keep you reading as you await his next novel.

Human Connection

The best part of this course is the built in discussion component. Students are invited to discuss the novel and the material with others, ask their own questions, and contribute to a dynamic conversation each week. There will be guided discussions for each unit, but students can also ask their own questions as well. This gives participants an opportunity to connect with other Murakami readers to discuss the ideas presented and their own interpretations.

No Hidden Fees

This is a college-level course that is open to the public. There is a one time course fee, but no added registration costs or hidden fees that you would pay if you registered to take this at a college.

Each Unit Includes:

  • Unit Workbook
  • Video Tutorials
  • Discussion Boards
  • Supplemental Reading
  • Email Support

Your Instructor

Jessica S. Manuel
Jessica S. Manuel

Jessica S. Manuel earned her B.A. in English with an emphasis in Critical Theory and a minor in Theological Studies from The Master's University. She went on to earn her M.A. in English (Literature) from San Francisco State University where she studied 19th-20th Century Literature with a special studies emphasis in Critical Theory. After examining the intersections of psychoanalysis and contemporary literature, she wrote her thesis on Haruki Murakami's use of the unconscious in Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World. After finishing her degree, she continued her education at University of California, San Diego where she studied Teaching Adult Learners and literature.

Frequently Asked Questions

I want to take the course, but the course fee presents a huge financial burden for me. What can I do?
A limited amount of scholarships are available for each course. The specifics will be sent out to our Reading Beyond Murakami mailing list. You can subscribe below.
What if I am unhappy with the course?
We would never want you to be unhappy! If you are unsatisfied with your purchase, contact us in the first 30 days of the course and we will give you a full refund.
Are you going to be studying Murakami or just other thinkers?
Yes, Murakami! The main focus of each course is the novel it is centered on. The first is Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World. We'll explore how various theories, philosophers, and concepts influence the ideas in the novel. There will also be links to interviews, articles, and short stories (all of which are either about Murakami or by Murakami) that speak to the ideas as well.
What is the reading load?
We discuss 4 chapters of the novel a week, which is about 40 pages. In addition, there are articles, interviews, and supplemental reading made available that is entirely optional.
What is included in the Reading Beyond Murakmai Course Series bundle?
The Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World course is the first of seven courses centered on a single novel. We also offer summer and fall courses that focus on the literary elements of Murakami's work. The RBM course series bundle gives students lifetime access and automatic enrollment in every RBM course. This bundle is designed for life-long learners wanting to work through the majority of Murakami's body of work instead of a single novel.


In order to best support our students, Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World & Literary Theory is only offered once a year. We strongly encourage you to join our waiting list to be notified when registration opens so that you don't miss out on the brief enrollment period. When you join, you'll also receive A Haruki Murakami Reading Guide and will be the first to find out about all new courses in Book Oblivion Academy.

This course is currently closed.