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A Wild Sheep Chase [Audiobook] [Audio CD]

Haruki Murakami , Rupert Degas
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (66 customer reviews)
RRP: 30.62
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Book Description

3 July 2006
'A Wild Sheep Chase' is one of Murakami's most fantastical novels. An advertising executive, infatuated with a girl who possesses the most perfect ears (an erotic charge for him) uses a picture of a sheep with a star on its back. This catapults him into a weird adventure to find the mythical sheep up in the wilds of Hokkaido, Japan's northern island. There are strange encounters, a hotel with an extra disappearing floor, and other oddities. 'A Wild Sheep Chase' is an early Murakami work, but its remarkable and individual voice makes it one of the most thrilling of his books. It is superbly read by Rupert Degas with an edge of Raymond Chandler.

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Product details

  • Audio CD: 8 pages
  • Publisher: Naxos AudioBooks; Unabridged edition (3 July 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9626344148
  • ISBN-13: 978-9626344149
  • Product Dimensions: 13.1 x 15.2 x 4.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (66 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 706,003 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Amazon Review

As with many of Haruki Murakami's novels, the plot curdles with complex diversity only to be resolved by a collision between wild fantasy and outright slapstick. A Wild Sheep Chase refers aptly to the tradition of cool but kitsch detective sagas. Except here, the metaphoric goose is now a literal sheep with a distinctive marking; an urban myth with the promise of immortality.

The anonymous narrator is a mild-mannered thirtysomething with a more than understanding attitude--things happen because they are supposed to and there's no sense standing in the way of progress or nature. It takes the disappearance of a friend and some gentle intimidation from a right wing conglomerate to break the pattern of apathy and send him off on his adventure.

Murakami's detail of the most mundane situations makes his lead character endearing. Those who've read Murakami before will recognise that certain empathy for the strange thoughts and rituals that are now hallmarks of his wry humour. Although an unlikely hero, the quest for a missing friend and the support of a lover with mysterious ears takes him off in search of the elusive sheep in a bizarre adventure--danger and absurdity hindering every movement. --David Trueman --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"Wonderfully easy to read and just as wonderfully difficult to make sense of...like the narrator, who slowly accepts the presence in his life of mystery, we slowly recognize the possibility of a new kind of world. Like him, we lean forward and topple headlong into magic" (Washington Post)

"It begins as a detective novel, dips into a screwball comedy, and at its close becomes a tale of possession...A highly accomplished piece of craftsmanship" (New Yorker)

"Mr. Murakami's style and imagination are closer to that of Kurt Vonnegut, Raymond Carver and John Irving" (New York Times)

"A Wild Sheep Chase has the conventional hull of a thriller - a quest, a mystery, an extraordinary woman, and plenty of elegant duress - but its fantastic superstructure transforms it into something quite different...a science fiction fantasy, a romance, a metaphysical tease, or a dramatisation of philosophical ideas" (Independent)

"If you consider yourself an intelligent, sensitive common reader but wish to accommodate something a little removed from your experience, and probably your imagination, I dare you to turn your eyes towards Murakami and head off on a wild sheep chase." (Glasgow Herald) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Carefree detective story full of death 4 Feb 2007
By Greshon
Written in 1982, this is the earliest Murakami novel widely available to the English-speaking world, though it isn't Murakami's first novel (he wrote two before this one).

Attempting to find the meaning in this bizaare and surreal detective story will probably always be fruitless, but trying to work it out while reading is so much fun. Reading it again is just as good, as you think that perhaps this time you are ready, this time you will understand what it all means - but you never are ready and you never do understand.

It is worth noting that despite its jaunty and carefree tone, the book is full of death and images of death, which lend it something of a brooding darkeness. It is also worth noting that here is a very early example of Murakami's frequently repeated 'mysterious woman who goes unexplainably missing' trick.

In 1988 Murakami produced a sequel, Dance Dance Dance but, despite being quite frightening and easy to read, it is inferior to Wild Sheep Chase and doesn't stand up to repeated readings.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, humourous, and poignant. 3 Jun 2008
If there is one criticism that can be made of Murakami's wild, fascinating and intensely thoughtful novels, it is that the humanity of his characters can occasionally be lost in the wistful poetry of his writing. This is not the case of The Wild Sheep Chase: the book's poignant, terrifically tender ending moves the reader not, as is usual with Murakami, with sympathy for a universal failing, but instead with a unique, very human, sense of loss.
This is a witty and wonderful book, with the power to transform the reader's view of the world. While this is often the case with Murakami's novels, this book has a peculiarly prosaic setting, which slowly gives way to the bizarre universe just outside one's doorstep. I would recommend it especially for those new to Murakami's twisted galaxy of writing, but also to those fans who already find they prefer Murakami's fantastical Japan to their personal reality.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not his best, but maybe his most fun to read 18 Mar 2002
I can describe this simply - it's Raymond Carver's sense of human smallness and dignity coupled with Raymond Chandler's sense of pulp, but with a sort of Marx-Brothers/Manga thrown in. The girl with beautiful ears is perhaps Murakami's best kooky-girl and the plot rattles along. It's weird as hell, but firmly anchored to the real world too. Rather like "The Wind-up Bird Chronicles" there's a sense of opaqueness to it, a sense that you are not glimpsing everything that is to be found on first read. But it reads just as well second time.
There's nobody to touch Murakami, and this is a particularly good Murakami book. Maybe my favourite, though Wind-Up Bird is his most accomplished work.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Murakami on more surreal form 18 Nov 2009
Murakami on his more surreal form. If his books are written along the lines of a freestyle jazz piece, than A Wild Sheep Solo would be the xylophone solo. Purposeful and structured but an oddity all the same.

The book is based around a central character looking for a sheep, that had taken possession of the head of a powerful political organization but was now lost, and without it he will be unable to survive. The search takes him away from his job, his home, his girlfriend and into the depths of the Japanese Mountains.

We are back on Murakami's central motif here - characters lost or at a junction, in a world that they cannot understand, a world that is human but not at the same time. Here though the main character is anonymous - with no name and no real existence. In fact his only real trait is that he is as ordinary as he can possibly be. He is only given meaning by others - by the search for the sheep, the letter from The Rat (his previous acquaintance) taking him on journeys he would otherwise not have made.

To me this is all about the transience of self. Here we have a person who has built up a life, a wife, a business, but who is then transformed quite arbitrarily into a completely different world and existence, where sheep possess humans and women have incredibly attractive ears. Indeed it is the ears that start the whole plot off - an idea of new sensory perception perhaps? Could this happen to any of us?

From here it is the quest for the sheep that dominates, and a journey into old Japan, a Japan that is being lost in the new world, where the old towns and settlements are simply disappearing off the map. In fact times seems to be passing in a similar way, to the sense of nihilism that dominates the book.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Indescribable 25 Mar 2004
What can I say about this writer! I discovered Murakami in January this year through Norwegian Wood, which I found very engrossing and different mainly because of his style of writing and characters. Since then I have hunted down and bought every book written by the author. The stories and the characters captivate you, you are made to feel as if YOU are the character and you are actually going through the journey which follows. As a previous reader said, it is hard to describe Murakami's work to someone who has not read one of his works. You can only experience how good this guy is when you read it yourself. To sum up Murakami is one of those authors whose books should be read by anyone who has an interest in reading quality!!!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous
Crazy, zany, existentialstic. Loved it. Off to read more of Murakami. I wish more writers would create this way. Thank you
Published 8 days ago by T H McCaughey
4.0 out of 5 stars Classic Murakami !
You love Murakami or you hate him, I don't think there is an in-between as his style, stories, atmosphere, ... are so special. Read more
Published 24 days ago by suziesue
3.0 out of 5 stars Murakami at his most surrealist, Murakami at his weakest
In my personal experience, Haruki Murakami is one of those rare writers who find it disturbingly easy to leave a heavy impression on (or better phrased, in) you. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Keepin' the Wolf From the Door
5.0 out of 5 stars A Good Read.
A very good read. Interesting - Page turner. I am more and more into Murikami, and have ordered two more of his books.
Published 1 month ago by Bruce Louis Dodson
4.0 out of 5 stars Not an easy read but I should have read the earlier parts of the...
This review is written by a Murakami `virgin' and one who was unaware until the end that the novel is the final part of the `Trilogy of the Rat' following `Hear the Wind Sing' and... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Dr R
5.0 out of 5 stars Short but sweet, and better than most of Murakami's roster
One of Murakami's faster books, it focuses less on relationships between the characters and more on the mystery that gradually unfolds throughout the course of the book. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Jacob Thompson
5.0 out of 5 stars Sheep
First of many brilliant novels. Great prose, characters and plot. What more do you want in a book? You won't be disappointed.
Published 7 months ago by Simon
5.0 out of 5 stars Just a penny... Am I dreaming or what ???
Another book by Haruki Murakami which delivers - not the place to do the review as that would spoil the whole pleasure of reading. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Tulemisia
5.0 out of 5 stars A real pleasure to read
This book was recommended by a friend and is the first Haruki Murakami novel I have had the pleasure of reading. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Robin Webster
5.0 out of 5 stars Murakami at his best!
Here, murakami writes in his own inimitable style about love and loss, and memories lost in the gulf of time, and the ennui of existence ...
Published 12 months ago by Chris Holden
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