- Hardcover: 304 pages
- Publisher: Kodansha America, Inc; 1 edition (31 Dec. 1989)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0870119052
- ISBN-13: 978-0870119057
- Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 15.2 x 23.5 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars See all reviews (96 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,194,647 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
A Wild Sheep Chase: A Novel Hardcover – 31 Dec 1989
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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 an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
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.
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Far from wild, this novel is about mediocrity. Not mediocrity transcended through extraordinary experiences (as I hoped throughout the book), but just hopelessly implacable... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Sean Maher
Funny, off the wall, expertly written tale. Very enjoyable Murakami novel.Published 2 months ago by Frankie
This is the third part of the so called “rat trilogy” so if you haven’t already done so, I would strongly suggest that you read “Wind/Pinball” before picking this up, though you... Read morePublished 2 months ago by keen reader
Great book. It's gripping and I was finished before I even started.Published 8 months ago by Amazon Customer
Typical weirdness from Murakami.
Odd but difficult to put down and you want to find out what is really going on!