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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
7,1631311,056 (3.9)280
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 realise 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. 'A Wild Sheep Chase has the conventional hull of a thriller - a quest, a mystery, an extraordinary woman, and plenty of elegant duress - but its fantastic superstructure transforms it into something quite different...a science fiction fantasy, a romance, a metaphysical tease, or a dramatisation of philosophical ideas' Independent… (more)
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 10
    After the Quake by Haruki Murakami (2810michael)
  4. 00
    Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami (koenvanq)
  5. 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.
  6. 00
    The Castle by Franz Kafka (olonec)
    olonec: chase, chase, chase
  7. 01
    Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut (WSB7)
    WSB7: Vonnegut's take on the world is so similar to Murakami's
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» See also 280 mentions

English (106)  French (9)  Spanish (5)  Dutch (3)  Italian (2)  Norwegian (2)  Portuguese (1)  Hungarian (1)  Danish (1)  All languages (130)
Showing 1-5 of 106 (next | show all)
This book ... this book ... this book came at me like Kurt Vonnegut on Risperidone telling his version of Moby Dick.

A great read - I don't quite know what Murakami was trying to say - but I throughly enjoyed being introduced to this author with this book. This won't be the last of his that I read. ( )
  donhazelwood | Mar 12, 2022 |
I've read several of Murakami's novels and I've become a huge fan of his style. This book is one of my favorites, and I usually recommend A Wild Sheep Chase to people who have never read him before, for a few reasons: it's relatively short, there's some sense of plot that moves the action along, and I feel that it gives a good "survey" of Murakami's style. So if your interest is piqued, then it makes sense to try some of the more ambitious novels.

Perhaps the only problem with starting with this novel as your first Murakami is that the plot isn't super compelling (like 1Q84 or Kafka on the Shore was to me). ( )
  hugepark | Jan 24, 2022 |
I wish I had read this before Hard Boild Wonderland. I enjoyed it much more. Still not totally my cuppa. ( )
1 vote dualmon | Nov 17, 2021 |
As usual, Murakami weaves the bizarre into an everyday tale. The narrator had to hunt for a specific sheep with a star, which led him to his friend's family's house in the middle of nowhere. There, he discovered that his friend aka The Rat had died. During this journey, he learned the power of this sheep. I don't know what is going on, but it is still an enjoyable read, with me scratching my head half the time. ( )
  siok | Sep 18, 2021 |
My reading has been a bit all over the place recently and my mojo is up and down more than I care for. I go through days where I read hundreds of pages and then seem to hit a period where I just can't get into whatever I am reading at the time. In an attempt to solve this problem I decided to fall back on an author whose books I have always enjoyed, Haruki Murakami. I have two of his books on my bookcase at the moment, A Wild Sheep Chase and The Wind-up Bird Chronicle. I went for A Wild Sheep Chase because it is a shorter read and I didn't want to tempt fate with my mojo.

I seem to be gradually moving towards some of Murakami's more surreal work and this certainly fits that description. It wasn't until after I had finished it that I found out that is was the third book in the 'Rat' trilogy, this may, or may not explain why it took me some time to get into the book. We start with our protagonist wondering where his life is heading after the breakdown of his marriage. He ends up meeting a quirky girl who has the most amazing ears in the world. He works with a good friend of his in a joint business in which he uses a photograph of a flock of sheep that has been sitting in an office drawer for ages. This leads of a series of events which includes a run in with a shadowy crime organisation, a sheep professor and a whole manner of trippy things. Yes, this sounds odd and it is, but with Murakami I feel that you have to suspend disbelief and just go with it and see what happens.

There isn't really a particular plot to latch on to but as usual its Murakami's writing which I enjoyed. He creates dream like imagery like no one else that I have read and there is just something about his writing which moves me. It's very hard to describe and I struggle to put my finger on what exactly is it that makes it work, but for me it just does. Although it took me a long time getting into this book I am glad I stuck with it because once I had settled into the rhythm of the book it was a great read.

I wouldn't recommend this as a place to start with Murakami but it is a good book none the less. ( )
1 vote Brian. | Jul 25, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 106 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (18 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Haruki Murakamiprimary authorall editionscalculated
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."
"I lit up a second cigarette and ordered another whiskey. The second whiskey is always my favorite. From the third on, it no longer has any taste. It's just something to pour into your stomach."
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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 realise 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. 'A Wild Sheep Chase has the conventional hull of a thriller - a quest, a mystery, an extraordinary woman, and plenty of elegant duress - but its fantastic superstructure transforms it into something quite different...a science fiction fantasy, a romance, a metaphysical tease, or a dramatisation of philosophical ideas' Independent

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