2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In a word, fun
I would still rate 'South of the Border, West of the Sun' more highly, but this is Murakami's most flat-out entertaining novel. Although it's billed as a sequel to Wild Sheep Chase, and it is about the same character, _all_ of Murakami's novels seem to be about the same basic everyman character, and reading Sheep Chase first isn't neccesary (I read this before I read...
Published on April 10 2004 by Henry Platte
3.0 out of 5 stars An enjoyable novel but...
Murakami has cashed in on the deserved success of A Wild SheepChase by writing what is superficially a sequel. He grabs a couple ofthe old characters, but quickly drops them. He introduces several new people, but he doesn't do much with them either. He's a writer desperately trying to clutch at wacky sub plots to bolster a weak central story. He alludes to everybody from...
Published on April 4 2000 by email@example.com
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In a word, fun,
This review is from: Dance Dance Dance (Paperback)I would still rate 'South of the Border, West of the Sun' more highly, but this is Murakami's most flat-out entertaining novel. Although it's billed as a sequel to Wild Sheep Chase, and it is about the same character, _all_ of Murakami's novels seem to be about the same basic everyman character, and reading Sheep Chase first isn't neccesary (I read this before I read Sheep Chase). Still, Sheep Chase, as Murakami's first novel, provides a good point of reference.
The characters in Dance, Dance, Dance are almost exponentially more vibrant than those in Sheep Chase, from the bored, occasionally clairvoyant young girl who might have stepped out of a Salinger novel, to the plucky one-armed American poet. There's an almost cartoonish (not in at all a bad way) quality to these people; they stand out that much, and are that sharply drawn. The intriguing criticism of genius offered in Sheep Chase recurs, more subtly and kindly, in the form of a brilliant woman photographer who happens to be a very poor mother. Murakami is also unexpectedly kind to another character, the superificial actor Gotanda, who reveals a sharply human side. In the end, that may be exactly it about this novel; a sense of warmth and quiet joy underneath everything, even the more sinister events, which not many novels of this modernist type can muster. Every stroke of good fortune seems deserved, and every tragedy is lamented.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Never Fails to Captivate - Audio book review,
This review is from: Dance Dance Dance (Paperback)Most of the time, when I start to read or to listen to a book, I have a number of expectation of what the story will be about and how it might proceed. I have learned not to do this with books by Haruki Murakami. I selected this book based on having enjoyed The Wind-up Bird Chronicles, and decided I would just go with the flow and let the story reveal itself to me as I listened.
That is exactly what happened. Murakami slowly peeled back the layers of the story exposing characters and twists that I couldn't have anticipated. The narrator is a 30 something freelance writer. We find that he is going through the motions of living life; he lives each day, but doesn't really experience any of it. Just a taste here and there just as with the restaurant reviews he write. He'll order a vast assortment of delectable dishes, but only take a bite from each. His job is very much like this as well. He is a free lance writer who accepts pretty well every job that comes his way. He allows the jobs to direct the course of his life. The experiences that he tastes are all the result of these random jobs.
A continuing series of dreams about a run down hotel he once stayed in draws him back to Sapporo to the Dolphin Hotel. The old dump has been replaced by a modern steel and glass construction, though the essence of the old hotel remains. It is here that the narrator connects with the sheep man, who becomes his guide in moving him along the path to really living, to learning how to dance.
He is further aided along his journey by an unusual assortment of companions. Thirteen your old Yuki has been abandoned in Sapporo by her photographer mother and needs and escort back to Tokyo. I've already mentioned the fast talking sheep man. The one armed poet in Hawaii stops our narrator and sets him to wondering how how much that has changed/affected the poet's life. Then there is Gotunda, a former classmate of his who keeps popping back into his life via the movies that he has acted in. I'm still wondering if the narrator has a man-crush on Gotunda.
Rupert Degas was the reader for this story. He does a wonderful job of portraying all the characters. I particularly liked his voicing of the sheep man with his almost none pause speaking. When he spoke for Yuki, I was convinced that I was hearing a thirteen year old girl. Unabridged 12 hours 45 minutes.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I wish I could read this for the first time again!,
This review is from: Dance Dance Dance (Paperback)I think the greatest complement a book can receive is that you actually miss reading it. Often we go to the movies, read a novel, and two months later you can barely remember seeing/reading it. I miss this book, perhaps more than other Murakami's work. If you haven't read anything by him yet, you must try it.
It's hard to describe the style of the book, but I think he has a pretty universal appeal. A little strange and familiar at the same time. Weird things happen, but he describes them in a lightly straight-forward way.
5.0 out of 5 stars Another surreal twist in time,
This review is from: Dance Dance Dance (Paperback)This is a good book. Murakami's writing involves detailed characters who do not always know where they are going nor who they are. The characters and environment are detailed and exquisite, making one want to visit the places written about.
This book includes a sideline into a metaphyical world for the narrator, which helps to drive him and guide him. By the end of the book, typical understanding of all the events and characters may not be achieved but a sense of peace is created.
When you read this book, do not expect typical Western narrative structures, details or a sense of closure. As with other Murakami books consider the leaves, on the trees in the forest.
2.0 out of 5 stars Dunce Dunce Dunce,
This review is from: Dance Dance Dance (Paperback)I just finished this and contrary to my prior expreriences with Murakami's books I should say I'm glad it finally got over because this was for, for most of it's running length, one of the most BORRRRING books I've read.
The story actually began extremely well, in the author's trademark vein. Here his protagonist feels psychically drawn towards the Dolphin hotel, an utterly run-down place in a Japanese province called Sapporo, where events had happened to him years back. He decides to lay off work for a while and go down there to check out on it, only to find that it has been completely torn down and replaced by a flashy new upmarket hotel bearing the same name. However, all is not mundane, as he discovers that beneath the shell of the new place, the old hotel is still lurking around housing a mysterious character called the Sheep Man. It's quite an interesting concept, the idea of a 'haunting hotel', instead of a haunted one and would have served as an excellent premise for Murkami to set up his trademark parallel universe.
But unfortunately for us, Murakami does very little to actually flesh out the concept and instead, has his 'hero' being carted off by destiny to various places, meeting various people who're oddballs in one or the other sense. But unlike his other books, the formula here seems very watered-down and bland. For all his attempts he is never able to generate the sense of connection between the various incidents and people necessary for one to feel hooked by it - most things just feel very arbitrary and tacked-on. The characters with the exception of the hero's actor friend Gotanda come off as dull props that you don't care a whit about. Even Murakami's prose for long stretches of the book comes off as rather...well...prosaic. his descriptions of the hero's routine get painfully repetitive since, unlike his previous books, they do nothing to push the story ahead or give any further insight into his character. He tries to pull the strings together for the last act where he returns to the hotel, but IMO it seems as arbitrary as the rest of the book.
In short, this book was for me a waste of time. But I do sincerely recommend Wind-up Bird Chronicle and Hard-Boiled Wonderland as impeccable classics by the author.
4.0 out of 5 stars enjoyable surreal weirdness; amongst Murakami's best,
This review is from: Dance Dance Dance (Paperback)Haruki Murakami mostly writes books that fall into two categories: either the 'confused but in love' bucket, or the 'confused young man finds himself totally weirded-out' bucket. The first category has Murakami classics such as 'Norwegian Wood' and 'South of the Border, West of Sun', and the latter has 'A Wild Sheep Chase' and 'The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle'. 'Dance, Dance, Dance', being a sequel to 'A Wild Sheep Chase', is about as weird as anything published by Murakami. And it is about as good, ... which is to say it is very good indeed.
It is very hard to explain the novel since the story is so .. strange, convoluted, surreal, etc. We have altered realities, a 13 year old spoilt girl with precognition powers, and a befuddled young Japanese man caught in the middle. It all works, sort of. Believable? Not even close.
Bottom line: a book best enjoyed by seasoned Murakami readers. Fans will love it.
4.0 out of 5 stars So I can dance after all?,
This review is from: Dance Dance Dance (Paperback)Before I start actually reviewing this book, I should note that I haven't read any of Murakami's other books, so I can't comment on how this one compares. I was also unaware until just now that the book was a sequel to "A Wild Sheep Chase." I actually have a hunch that "Dance Dance Dance" works better without having read that book, but obviously I can't say for sure. At any rate, it stands on its own.
Despite containing many impossible things, "Dance Dance Dance" is a very realistic book. I say this because not everything that happens fits neatly into an overarching structure, and some events never end up making sense. Neither of those things are true of most novels, but they almost always apply to real life. The characters, weird as they are, almost all have authenticity. This is especially true of the nameless protagonist.
It's necessary to learn what to expect from this book. If you read it looking for a straight-up mystery that resolves itself in the traditional way, as is tempting, you will be disappointed. What you can expect is an entertaining, darkly surreal, and ultimately reassuring story which probably would have been classified as urban fantasy had it been written by an American or British author or magical realism had it been written by a Latin American. Seen that way, I really can't think of any particular flaws in it. The lack of a fifth star is due to the absence of superlative things, not the presence of bad ones.
The authors this book reminded me of most were Philip K. Dick and Neil Gaiman, though it doesn't resemble either so strongly.
5.0 out of 5 stars A delicious read...as Yumiyoshi would say... "Fantastic!",
This review is from: Dance Dance Dance (Paperback)In Dance Dance Dance, we are drawn into Murakami's typical murky world where our nameless narrator from "A Wild Sheep Chase" continues to search for his place in a world of "advanced capitalism" - struggling to place meaning behind a world of false values/aspirations and pressures to conform.
Old friends such as Kiki, the Sheep Man, and his copywriting partner surface for a much welcomed appearance - while new warm and fuzzy characters are introduced in familiar places such as the Dolphin Hotel to further propel the plot.
Murakami succeeds in Dance because he forcefully reminds us of the true value of things in everyday life. He tactfully revisits old themes such as - not realizing the value of things until it's too late - the fragility of the human psyche - and the pain of losing loved ones. Further more, only Murakami can compare and contrast the value of Rolex watches, Maserati sports cars with the joys of preparing and savouring simple but rich, mouth watering homemade-meals.
5.0 out of 5 stars A more gentle Murakami,
This review is from: Dance Dance Dance (Paperback)If you have not read "The Wind Up Bird Chronicle," I strongly recommend it. It is Murakami's best and most complex novel dealing with the images and themes explored in "Dance, Dance, Dance." This is a sweeter story, a kind of love story, set in the strange landscape of Murakami's parallel universes. Although it is not quite as thought provoking as "Wind Up Bird," it is very engrossing and enjoyable.
5.0 out of 5 stars I've said it once, I'll say it again: Murakami is a GENIUS,
This review is from: Dance Dance Dance (Paperback)I finally found out why I love Murakami. Bear with me, because I'm still molding this idea... Murakami's protaganists are, for the most, not the typical Japanese sterotype. They don't work, or they little, or they work sporadically. They rarely follow tradition. They steep themselves in Western culture, trying to become Western. They reject their Eastern mindset without ever rejecting the East. They stay fundementally Japanese, no matter how hard they try to push away from that life. I think that many Americans feel this same way (flip-flopped, obviously). How many Westerners have become Buddhists? How many steep themselves in the insane culture of modern japan (wether it be Anime, video games, J-pop, whatever)? How many long for the East and reject the West without ever leaving the mindset? Many. I'm one. Murakami's books are the perfect relic of modern life. In our interconnected world (connected by Wind-up Birds and Sheep Men alike), cultural identity is something we long to shrugh off. Yet we can't. We dance in a never-ending sprial of life.
Dance Dance Dance is just as good as Wind-up Bird. Unlike Wild Sheep Chase, it does not have that brevity, almost short story quality that marred A Wild Sheep Chase for me (which isn't to say I didn't like it..just the opposite, it is certainly one of my favorite books, just not on par with Dance or Wind-up Bird). There are certain things we need to forgive Murakami for though. He certainly has a stock leading man. But so did Hemmingway, and no one is cursing him for it. The Hemmingway-Hero is a legit archetype now. Murakami repeatedly uses the same themes and motifs throughout his work. Well, so what? What great author hasn't? Pynchon and Dellio consistently do, but no one questions their ranking amongst the great writers. Murakami is a great writer, of incredible depth and insight. He is one fo the greatest treasures of the International literature scene, and there is no reason whatsoever that we should question his validity as a writer of genius Literate Fiction with a capital LF.
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Dance Dance Dance by Haruki Murakami (Paperback - Jan. 31 1995)
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