5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant journey through a strange and wonderful route
Excellent book by the wonderful Mr Murakami. I've read his "I" series backwards and have finally established a chronology.
Though I haven't read "Hear the wind sing", I believe the series starts with that, followed by "Pinball 1973", then "A Wild Sheep Chase" and ending with "Dance Dance Dance". The main character is...
Published on June 14 2001 by Isaac
3.0 out of 5 stars Starts Strong, Finishes Weak
I don't know if sheep ever chase their tails the way dogs do, but if this novel were a sheep, that's what it would do. "A Wild Sheep Chase" is the second book by Murakami that I've read and, while his style is very enjoyable (as translated by Alfred Birnbaum), the meaning of this tale eludes me. Don't get me wrong, I really enjoyed the book but the ending was a bit of a...
Published 11 months ago by Daffy Bibliophile
Most Helpful First | Newest First
3.0 out of 5 stars Starts Strong, Finishes Weak,
This review is from: Wild Sheep Chase (Hardcover)I don't know if sheep ever chase their tails the way dogs do, but if this novel were a sheep, that's what it would do. "A Wild Sheep Chase" is the second book by Murakami that I've read and, while his style is very enjoyable (as translated by Alfred Birnbaum), the meaning of this tale eludes me. Don't get me wrong, I really enjoyed the book but the ending was a bit of a letdown. From pathos to bathos. There is a certain amount of tongue-in-cheek humour in the novel as well and also the fun of a good mystery, but Murakami seems to have lost his way towards the end of the story which is a shame.
"A Wild Sheep Chase" was written early in his literary career and it shows hints of what Murakami would produce with "The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle" right down to the protagonist wearing worn tennis shoes, having a cat with a crooked tail and breaking up with his wife. However, "A Wild Sheep Chase" lacks the sense of wonderment found in "The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle"; it's a good book, but not a great book. Still, if you ever find yourself on a train headed to the middle of nowhere in search of you're-not-sure-what and need something good to read...
3.0 out of 5 stars Review of the audiobook,
This review is from: Wild Sheep Chase a (Audio CD)While reading A Wild Sheep Chase, Rupert Degas played the protagonist, his girlfriend, and the butler's voices quite well. However, when it came to the other characters, his voice became raspy and unbearable to listen to, sort of like Marge Simpson from The Simpsons.
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant journey through a strange and wonderful route,
This review is from: Wild Sheep Chase (Mass Market Paperback)Excellent book by the wonderful Mr Murakami. I've read his "I" series backwards and have finally established a chronology.
Though I haven't read "Hear the wind sing", I believe the series starts with that, followed by "Pinball 1973", then "A Wild Sheep Chase" and ending with "Dance Dance Dance". The main character is the nameless "I" who experiences a personal journey of sorts while trying hard to locate an inner touchstone within himself. A Wild Sheep Chase embroils the reader in mad cap chase for the elusive and mystical sheep who inhabits the body of "shells" in order to achieve world domination. How is the hero implicated in all this?
If you don't want the story spoilt, stop reading this review now. If you care, read on ...
His friend, the Rat, is the last person whom the sheep enters. In order to stop the sheep at all cost from running his life, and later, the world, he kills himself while the sheep is asleep within him. Why does he do it? Because he is too attached to his personal, "weak" human traits, like the smell of of summer, the sound of the sea ... blah, blah, blah ...
3.0 out of 5 stars Predict! Predict! Predict!,
This review is from: Wild Sheep Chase (Mass Market Paperback)A Wild Sheep Chase is a warm-hearted, mysterious, detective story that engages the imagination and elicits conjecture. I think the narration of the story is unique. Haruki Murakami uses a lot of meaningless humor;he brings focus to circumstances or objects that people usually don't pay attention to.He strongly shows isolation, but the way he describes it is not at all gloomy or serious. The story doesn't reveal the answer to the mystery of the sheep easily. I thought I would be able to solve the riddles in the story while reading because Murakami drops many hints. However, as I continued reading, I realized that I still could not have predicted the end. I read it without stopping because of my curiosity. The ending was quite unexpected and desolate. I like the story very much because it was full of suspense, surprise,and shifty turns. I want to read this story again, but in Japanese.I think reading it in the original language is best because the expression and humor will be true to the writer's meaning, which is sometimes lost or compromised in translations. I recommend this book to people who like detective stories, mysteries, and dramas. Also, I think it's better to have a little knowledge of Japan.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A life affirming story,
This review is from: A Wild Sheep Chase: A Novel (Paperback)What is power? What is life? What is living? Murakami explores all those questions in a hauntingly beautiful and absurdist tale of an everyman on a hunt, then a quest, to find a curiously marked sheep with mysterious powers. Reveling in his mundane life, the protagonist and un-named author reflects the sterilie modern life: our daily routines are but anesthesias against the encroaching dangers of a truly lived life. In his own words, the narrator searches for boredom instead of trying to escape it. Then the sheep spector appears, and begins to wreck his carefully constructed persona -- beginning to pump life into what before had only been shadows of emotions (e.g. J's bar, a dried beach)
This is a great leap down the rabbit hole and back -- and upon coming back, a sense of melancholic affirmation will linger with you beyond the finished words.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Book Worth Picking Up,
This review is from: A Wild Sheep Chase: A Novel (Paperback)I never wanted to put it down. Murakami writes about a world that breaks with reality, but in a strangely tangible and relatable manner. The 'chase' aspect of the plot appealed to my love of detective fiction, while the absurd concept of a metaphysical sheep provided a twist of whimsy to the book.
Definitely a book worth picking up.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars What exactly happened?,
This review is from: A Wild Sheep Chase: A Novel (Paperback)Like Haruki Murakami's other novels, A Wild Sheep Chase consists many events and characters that are similar to his other novels. The protagonist has some entertaining thoughts.
I found the concept of a sheep embodying a person to achieve greatness quite interesting. Genghis Khan was even mentioned as a person who the sheep entered. The sheep forms its host's will and makes the host do extraordinary things that the sheep wants accomplished, such as build a network of people. And once the host has served his purpose, the sheep leaves to find another host, leaving the former host sheepless.
I am still at a loss for why people think this novel is so incredible. The characters weren't so extraordinary, and the story felt like every other one of Murakami's novels that I've read. His best work, I find, is Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World.
There is an unnamed protagonist, who has a pet cat and has had a divorce after four years of marriage. He is bored of life. His wife left with everything he bought for her, and everything she bought for herself. She even cut out herself from any pictures she was in, as though she was never there.
After, while at work, he stares at pictures of ears and one day has a strange urge to meet the woman they belonged to. The woman has a sort of sixth sense and becomes his girlfriend. She looks plain and hides her ears, but when she shows them, she looked incredible. She tells him that she has closed her ears, because opening them gives her a headache, and he can train himself to do the same.
One day, he receives a letter from his friend called the Rat, who has enclosed a picture of sheep on a mountainside and requested that the protagonist display this picture for everyone to see. There is a sheep in the photo that is of a breed that is not supposed to exist. It has a mark of a star on its back. Thus, the protagonist publishes the photo, which results in him being forced to go on a strange adventure by a rich man's butler. In this case it is to find a sheep within the time limit of a month, otherwise his life will be over. The rat disappeared some months back, and now the protagonist has nothing to work with except his girlfriend and the fact that he is trying to find a sheep.
We learn about the history of sheep being kept in Japan. And the town in which the sheep's picture was taken. And of many people that that sheep possessed - those people were sheeped. The sheep would create a cist in the people's minds, a way to control the host, sort of like a whip. After the sheep used those people, and those people served their purpose, the sheep would leave them, and they would become sheepless. Being in that state makes those people lose the will to live.
And then the protagonist solves the mystery, and the woman leaves him. He later discovers that she has lost her sixth sense. And in the end, the protagonist ends up alone.
At the beginning the protagonist talked about a girl he used to sleep with many years ago. She told him that when she would turned the age of twenty-five, she would kill herself. And so, she did. When she was twenty-six, she died, and he attended her funeral. This somewhat foretells how other characters might think like - being bored with life and not being afraid to die.
Here are some quotes I enjoyed:
"As I started out long and hard, things began to melt in the rain. In fact, everything in town was melting." (113)
"She reminded me of a girl I used to know in the third grade, when I was taking piano lessons. ... But her name and face, entirely forgotten. All I remember about her are her tiny pale hands and pretty hair and fluffy dress. It's disturbing to realize this. Have I stripped her of her hands and hair and dress? Is the rest of her still living unattached somewhere else? Of course, this can't be. The world goes on without me. People cross the streets through no intervention on my part, sharpen pencils, move fifty yards a minute west to east, fill coffee lounges with music that's refined into nothingness." (114)
* "There're many things we don't know. It's an illusion that we know anything at all." (148)
"On a telephone pole, three plump pigeons burbled mindlessly away. Something had to be on their mind to be going on like that, maybe the pain from corns on their feet, who knows? From the pigeons' point of view, probably it was I who looked mindless." (161)
"Summer had faded to a distant memory almost beyond recall." (164)
"The wad showed no sign of going down no matter how many bills I used. Only I showed signs of wear." (165)
"The buildings began to look like backdrops in a photography studio, the people walking the streets like cardboard cutouts." (203)
2.0 out of 5 stars This novel didn't speak to me,
This review is from: A Wild Sheep Chase: A Novel (Paperback)For the life of me I couldn't get in to this novel. I tried. I really really tried. I heard such good things about Murakami's novels that I was really looking forward to this one. But alas, it was not to be.
There was just too much going on in this novel and none of it seemed to tie together very well. The main protagonist in this story falls in love with a woman who has lovely ears. And the ears start to become the focal point of the man's life. Plus there is the side issue of a crime lord who involves himself in the man's life and the fallout that comes from this association as well.
I don't wish to say too much on the chance that I ruin the story for others. And based on the number of positive reviews here, it seems as though I'm in the minority when it comes to this novel. But what can I say? For me, this novel definitely didn't hold my interest. Best of luck!
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing.,
This review is from: A Wild Sheep Chase: A Novel (Paperback)This was a curious book... Murakami paints a mildly depressing and self-depreciatingly witty portrait of a man, detached and unconcerned, living a wholly mediocre life. That life is turned upside down by a bizarre series of events that don't seem to phase this lack-luster protagonist, who claims he hasn't cried since he was a child. Enter the makings of a potentially interesting adventure, shot down by the ennui-ridden monologue of a mostly uninteresting man.
Alright; I get the themes, I get the quasi-morality-tale for the unenthused twenty-somethings of a collectivist Japan, I get the clash between tradition and the desire for advancement... but I still felt that the story fell flat, dragged down by the entirely bland and quality-less lead character. I couldn't bring myself to care for a character who doesn't care for himself enough to care about anything. Fortunately, there are a handful of interesting secondary characters who redeem this novel a little bit, and whose eventual abandonment of the boring protagonist brought sense to back to the dynamics. Sadly, they couldn't bring much sense back to the intended tale of morality.
Overall: bland despite its quirk, uneven despite its determined focus on a meaning, and often hard to follow despite its straightforward adventure plot. It was intellectually intriguing in the paradoxical sense, but I was not too impressed.
5.0 out of 5 stars A Contemplative Apocalypse of the Curious,
This review is from: A Wild Sheep Chase: A Novel (Paperback)I like to think of there being two very different kinds of novels: ones about characters, and ones about events. Some try to tell a story of something that happened, some try to tell a story about the people that fill up this world.
Of these two, the work of Haruki Murakami is definately character driven. The entier point of his books, actualy, tends to be the people in them, looking for eachother, separating and reconnecting, beeing twisted together in the braids of fate.
Some people, (esspecialy those who prefer the events-driven novels) may be frustrated with this book, because for much of it, very little in the way of events happen, and when events do happen, they are so strange and outlandish that one is half tempted to ignore them as tall tales fabricated by the characters to pull at our collective legs.
Thus, if a reader is of the right mindset, one can discount the plot and events entierely as some bizzaro-world never-never-land hallucinations, and cut straight to the jewels of the book: Murakami's ecstatoc observations about people, places, and things that are normaly so mundane in our life that we just over look them. By brining these banal things under such intense scrutiny he presents a world more fantastic then reality, more concrete than fantasy, and reminescent only of the way you must have looked at things as a child, where a bug in a jar was as fascinating as a plasma screen TV.
I will tentatively outright recomend Murakami to anyone, however, I will attach to that recomendation a warning, that you shouldn't be surprised (or take it personaly) if you don't like it.
To really appreciate his work on a personal level you have to be cut of the same cloth as a mad scientist, a Buddha, or Humphrey Bogart, although which one - I'm not yet sure. Ultimately, though, I think it is safe to say that a persons opinons on literature are more a reflection of themselves than it is any objective judgement of quality. When I praise a book, that just means it's my kind of book, or I'm it's kind of reader. When I dislike a book, that means the book and I are at odds, not that either of us are bad, but that, like some people, we just don't get along.
Murakami is so forcefull and eccentric that it would not surprise me if there are a good number of people who don't get along with his books, but there should be equaly many people of the same ilk as the madness in his books that can admire his unabated and perpetualy unsatiated expressions of an unapologeticaly surreal outlook on life.
Most Helpful First | Newest First
A Wild Sheep Chase: A Novel by Haruki Murakami (Paperback - April 9 2002)
CDN$ 17.95 CDN$ 12.96