- Paperback: 368 pages
- Publisher: Vintage; Reprint edition (April 9 2002)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 037571894X
- ISBN-13: 978-0375718946
- Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 1.8 x 20.6 cm
- Shipping Weight: 281 g
- Average Customer Review: 80 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #11,350 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
A Wild Sheep Chase: A Novel Paperback – Apr 9 2002
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From Publishers Weekly
A Japanese yuppie plunges into chaos after he discovers a snapshot depicting a unique crossbreed of sheep. In "a comic combination of disparate styles: a mock-hardboiled mystery, a metaphysical speculation and an ironic first-person account of an impossible quest . . . Murakami emerges as a wholly original talent," PW wrote.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Library Journal
This novel, the American debut of a popular contemporary Japanese writer, will have a familiar ring to Western ears. The narrative moves adroitly through mystery, fable, pensive realism, and modernist absurdity to tell the tale--at least on the surface--of a Japanese man caught up in a puzzling quest for a somewhat mystical sheep. The spare style echoes Raymond Carver, Dashiell Hammett, and Raymond Chandler, with matter-of-fact absurdities reminiscent of John Irving and, in less inspired moments, Tom Robbins. While the climax of the story is somewhat unrewarding, many readers will enjoy being pulled along by the playful and engaging style and fluid structure. Interesting as an example of current Japanese writing and as an unusually hip and irreverent look at contemporary Japanese society, this would be a nice addition to larger fiction collections.
- Mark Woodhouse, Elmira Coll., N.Y.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
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.
"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...