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‘A Wild Sheep Chase’ by Haruki Murakami October 12, 2006

Posted by ayasawada in Books.
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Amazon: A Wild Sheep Chase

In short: The problems of a man, a woman and a sheep don’t add up to hill of mung beans in Hokkaido.

Thoughts: Was it that I knew little, and expected little, of this little novel? Was it that the blurb sounded just so damn bizarre that I didn’t know what to think? Or was it simply my loves of Raymond Chandler plotlines and Japanese culture colliding with the classic Murakami hero and irresistable heroine? In any case, this came out of nowhere to be my favourite Murakami novel to date. There’s no point in explaining the plot, a synopsis would make absolultely no sense. But it’s a mystery, mixed with a riddle and starting out like a typical Murakami anti-romance. The guy’s the same: lonely thirty-something divorcee, dead-end job, too much coffee and cigarettes. But what’s great is everybody else. It’s an adventure; characters flit in and out. The focus isn’t on depth, it’s on character, or more specifically that one characteristic that makes each one of them special. Like the girlfriend with the spectacular ears. Not making sense? It’s probably the book. Sorry, you can’t know too much before you read it. That way you’ll love it.

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1. ‘Dance Dance Dance’ by Haruki Murakami « Canned Memory - November 12, 2006

[…] Thoughts: Having extolled the virtues of Murakami’s A Wild Sheep Chase, I picked up Dance Dance Dance next entirely by chance, not realising it was a semi-sequel and an epilogue to Murakami’s ‘trilogy of the rat‘. Nor was I aware that these books were his first literary forays. Serendipity? All too apt. Dance Dance Dance follows in a similar mould to A Wild Sheep Chase, taking up the reigns with the same main character trying to make sense of things. A series of dreams draws him back toward the Dolphin hotel, and the girl with the spectacular ears he lost during the sheep chase. Pretty soon the story is going off on all kinds of tangents, but not quite as random as the previous novel. Strangely though, the plot doesn’t feel quite as ‘tight’ – if that’s the right word. For sure, Sheep Chase was deliriously random, but the Chandler-esque plot and omimous villains gave it something more of a purpose, a goal, even if that goal was just a speck on the horizon. Our hero’s quest in DDD is very much his own, and he spends vast amounts of time just taking it easy, doing nothing, watching where the wind blows and whatever characters are blown in with it. Nevertheless, the sheer atmosphere of the novel captured me entirely. Murakami’s great strengths are the vividness of his world, the spark of his dialogue and the bittersweetness of his characters. The chemistry is all here, and even if some parts seemed irrelevant or contrived, I couldn’t help but react with a glow. […]


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