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A Wild Sheep Chase by Haruki Murakami
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A Wild Sheep Chase (1982)

by Haruki Murakami

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Rat (3)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
5,40884802 (3.93)175
Recently added byprivate library, rkchr, HeathDAlberts, RachelLeah, mattpermenter, bogusazrael, kwbridge, sushidog
  1. 10
    Dance Dance Dance by Haruki Murakami (cpav55)
    cpav55: Dance Dance Dance (Dans Dans Dans) maakt met Pinball 1973 en De jacht op het verloren schaap min of meer deel uit van de serie, maar het zijn wel losstaande verhalen.
  2. 10
    Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World by Haruki Murakami (cpav55, NatalieSW)
    cpav55: Ademt dezelfde sfeer als De jacht op het verloren schaap.
    NatalieSW: Has a similarly odd look at a world that is like ours but off-kilter in a magical, philosophically absurd way.
  3. 10
    After the Quake by Haruki Murakami (2810michael)
  4. 00
    Pinball, 1973 by Haruki Murakami (cpav55)
    cpav55: Pinball 1973, Dans Dans Dans en De jacht op het verloren schaap vormen min of meer een serie, maar zijn wel losstaande verhalen.
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» See also 175 mentions

English (64)  French (6)  Italian (3)  Dutch (3)  Spanish (3)  Portuguese (2)  Norwegian (1)  Hungarian (1)  Danish (1)  All languages (84)
Showing 1-5 of 64 (next | show all)
The Short of It:

Quirky, thought-provoking and strange. In other words, classic Murakami.

The Rest of It:

I’m not sure why it took me so long to finish this one. I purposely held this one back so that I’d have a novel to read before his new book came out, but when I finally allowed myself to read it, I think it took me almost three months to finish it! Unheard of. Seriously.

Why? Well, it’s one of his more quirky ones. It’s very dreamy and surreal in a lot of ways, but at the same time, it’s very “normal” and domestic, if you know what I mean. There is a lot of eating, and thinking and yes…drinking. The main character is sent on a wild sheep chase. No, seriously. He’s sent to find a sheep with a peculiar mark upon its rump. He meets all sorts of strange people, including a woman with magical, seductive ears and a man who likes to dress-up in a sheep costume. It’s all very bizarre but also fascinating. I marveled at each paragraph. Maybe that’s why it took me so long to read.

The story itself did not pull me in like some of his other stories have, but that’s not to say that it wasn’t good because it was. It’s definitely a book to ponder and coming here to share the review, well, is a bit of a challenge. What do you say about a book that is just so odd in so many ways? As I have said before, Murakami has a way of working all the parts of your brain that you haven’t used in awhile. He’s great for putting an end to a reading rut and his writing is somehow comforting in all its strange, little ways. I find myself seeking him out, after reading a lot of mainstream fiction.

After all my Murakami gushing over the years, some of you have taken the plunge and read him. Many of you have come back to tell me that you enjoy his writing. The rest? Some are too intimidated by him to give him a try, but I have hope.

For more reviews, visit my blog: Book Chatter. ( )
  tibobi | Aug 26, 2014 |
In A Wild Sheep Chase, the nameless protagonist and his girlfriend with extraordinarily charistmatic ears embark on a quest to find a mysterious sheep with a star on its back. The quest leads the protagonist from Tokyo to Sapporo, whereupon all manner of bizarre and unique characters intervene to drive the quest forward: a crazed man in a sheep outfit, a runaway best friend, an ovine-obsessed professor, and a comatose right-wing politician; the sheep for which they all search is rumoured to enable great success but at a cost - the domination of the person by the sheep.

This bizarre journey is a post-modern fantasy/mystery story that captures a snapshot of 1970s post-war Japanese culture while delivering a remarkable and exciting story. Though it builds slowly: Murakami explores in detail the background of the protagonist and his life in Tokyo, the story advances methodically and rhythmically, drawing the reader deeper in, searching for the mystery sheep.

The translation by Alfred Birnbaum captures elegantly Murakami's writing style and his ability to create incredibly poetic writing about the most mundane, everyday matters. ( )
  xuebi | May 30, 2014 |
Surely not the best Murakami there is. ( )
  Peppuzzo | May 5, 2014 |
Possession, parasitic sheep and post-war Japan. ( )
  Jphotic | Mar 31, 2014 |
I am having a hard time rating this book. It was an enjoyable and easy read but I don't understand the ending. I feel there must be a deeper intellectual meaning and I am not getting it. ( )
  Kraga | Mar 17, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 64 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (26 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Haruki Murakamiprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Birnbaum, AlfredTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ortmanns-Suzuki, AnnelieTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stalph, JürgenTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tamminen, LeenaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Westerhoven, JacquesTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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It was a short one-paragraph item in the morning edition.
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I went back to the riverside road, and by the time I'd managed to catch a taxi the rain was coming down in a drizzle. To the hotel, I said.

"Here on a trip?" asked the old driver.

"Uh-huh."

"First time in these parts?"

"Second time," I said.
There are symbolic dreams — dreams that symbolize some reality. Then there are symbolic realities — realities that symbolize a dream. Symbols are what you might call the honorary town councillors of the worm universe. In the worm universe, there is nothing unusual about a dairy cow seeking a pair of pliers. A cow is bound to get her pliers sometime. It has nothing to do with me.

Yet the fact that the cow chose me to obtain her pliers changes everything. This plunges me into a whole universe of alternative considerations. And in this universe of alternative considerations, the major problem is that everything becomes protracted and complex. I ask the cow, "Why do you want pliers?" And the cow answers, "I'm really hungry" So I ask, "Why do you need pliers if you're hungry?" The cow answers, "To attach them to branches of the peach tree." I ask, "Why a peach tree?" To which the cow replies, "Well, that's why I traded away my fan, isn't it?" And so on and so forth. The thing is never resolved, I begin to resent the cow, and the cow begins to resent me. That's a worm's eye view of its universe. The only way to get out of that worm universe is to dream another symbolic dream.

The place where that enormous four-wheeled vehicle transported me this September afternoon was surely the epicenter of the worm universe. In other words, my prayer had been denied.

I took a look around me and held my breath. Here was the stuff of breath taking.
To sleep with a woman: it can seem of the utmost importance in your mind, or then again it can seem like nothing much at all. Which only goes to say that there's sex as therapy (self-therapy, that is) and there's sex as pastime.

There's sex for self-improvement start to finish and there's sex for killing time straight through; sex that is therapeutic at first only to end up as nothing-better-to-do, and vice-versa. Our human sex life — how shall I put it? — differs fundamentally from the sex life of the whale.

We are not whales — and this constitutes one great theme underscoring our sex life.
"Let me be as frank as possible with you," the man spoke up. his speech had the ring of a direct translation from a formulaic text. his choice of phrase and grammar was correct enough, but there was no feeling in his words.

"Speaking frankly and speaking the truth are two different things entirely. Honesty is to truth as prow is to stern. Honesty appears first and truth appears last. The interval between varies in direct proportion to the size of the ship. With anything of size, truth takes a long time in coming. Sometimes it only manifests itself posthumously. Therefore, should I impart you with no truth at this juncture, that is through no fault of mine. Nor yours."
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 037571894X, Paperback)

A marvelous hybrid of mythology and mystery, A Wild Sheep Chase is the extraordinary literary thriller that launched Haruki Murakami’s international reputation.

It begins simply enough: A twenty-something advertising executive receives a postcard from a friend, and casually appropriates the image for an insurance company’s advertisement. What he doesn’t realize is that included in the pastoral scene is a mutant sheep with a star on its back, and in using this photo he has unwittingly captured the attention of a man in black who offers a menacing ultimatum: find the sheep or face dire consequences. Thus begins a surreal and elaborate quest that takes our hero from the urban haunts of Tokyo to the remote and snowy mountains of northern Japan, where he confronts not only the mythological sheep, but the confines of tradition and the demons deep within himself. Quirky and utterly captivating, A Wild Sheep Chase is Murakami at his astounding best.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:26:50 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

It begins simply enough: A twenty-something advertising executive receives a postcard from a friend, and casually appropriates the image for an insurance company's advertisement. What he doesnb2st realize is that included in the pastoral scene is a mutant sheep with a star on its back, and in using this photo he has unwittingly captured the attention of a man in black who offers a menacing ultimatum: find the sheep or face dire consequences. Thus begins a surreal and elaborate quest that takes our hero from the urban haunts of Tokyo to the remote and snowy mountains of northern Japan, where he confronts not only the mythological sheep, but the confines of tradition and the demons deep within himself.… (more)

» see all 4 descriptions

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