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The Rat #3

A Wild Sheep Chase

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His life was like a recurring nightmare: a train to nowhere. But an ordinary life has a way of taking an extraordinary turn. Add a girl whose ears are so exquisite that, when uncovered, they improve sex a thousand-fold, a runaway friend, a right-wing politico, an ovine-obsessed professor and a manic-depressive in a sheep outfit, implicate them in a hunt for a sheep, that may or may not be running the world, and the upshot is another singular masterpiece from Japan's finest novelist.

353 pages, Paperback

First published October 13, 1982

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About the author

Haruki Murakami

612 books111k followers
Murakami Haruki (Japanese: 村上 春樹) is a popular contemporary Japanese writer and translator. His work has been described as 'easily accessible, yet profoundly complex'. He can be located on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/harukimuraka...

Since childhood, Murakami has been heavily influenced by Western culture, particularly Western music and literature. He grew up reading a range of works by American writers, such as Kurt Vonnegut and Richard Brautigan, and he is often distinguished from other Japanese writers by his Western influences.

Murakami studied drama at Waseda University in Tokyo, where he met his wife, Yoko. His first job was at a record store, which is where one of his main characters, Toru Watanabe in Norwegian Wood, works. Shortly before finishing his studies, Murakami opened the coffeehouse 'Peter Cat' which was a jazz bar in the evening in Kokubunji, Tokyo with his wife.

Many of his novels have themes and titles that invoke classical music, such as the three books making up The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle: The Thieving Magpie (after Rossini's opera), Bird as Prophet (after a piano piece by Robert Schumann usually known in English as The Prophet Bird), and The Bird-Catcher (a character in Mozart's opera The Magic Flute). Some of his novels take their titles from songs: Dance, Dance, Dance (after The Dells' song, although it is widely thought it was titled after the Beach Boys tune), Norwegian Wood (after The Beatles' song) and South of the Border, West of the Sun (the first part being the title of a song by Nat King Cole).

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5 stars
33,797 (28%)
4 stars
50,351 (43%)
3 stars
26,182 (22%)
2 stars
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1 star
1,239 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 6,686 reviews
Profile Image for Joel.
554 reviews1,621 followers
May 3, 2011
Reading Murakami is like experiencing someone else's dream. Trying to review Murakami is like trying to remember your own -- scattered events, confusing narrative lapses, inexplicable elements, petrified whale penises. A series of images:

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seven-stars-limited-edit-m 135-Sapporo-draft

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seven-stars-limited-edit-m 135-Sapporo-draft

black_sheep_lighters KissaneSheepFarm

seven-stars-limited-edit-m 135-Sapporo-draft

tabbyCat001 william-mary-grandfather-clock


And then you wake up. And wonder what that was all about.
Profile Image for Jaci.
29 reviews39 followers
April 1, 2008
A Wild Sheep Chase was the third book that I have read by Murakami. I found out after I finished that it is that third book in "The Trilogy of the Rat". The first two books in this series are now out of print, but after reading A Wild Sheep Chase, I think I have to chase down some used copies of the novels and experience the trilogy in full.

I interpreted the novel to be a story of emotion journey more than a story of physical journey. There was an actual journey involved as the main character went in search of the mythical sheep, but the true focus of the book was on the character's emotions. Murakami didn't even give the protagonist (or many of the other characters in the novel) a name. The main character could stand for any one of us.

I believe that the mythical sheep can be seen as either "the meaning of life," which sounds cliche but bear with me, or, "what happens when we lose sight of the true meaning of life".

Our main character (let's call him Max for discussion's sake) finds himself at the end of his marriage. His wife have left him for a friend of his, and he can't understand what that guy has that he doesn't, since the friend doesn't have a lot of money and he plays the guitar too much.

The girlfriend that "Max" hooks up with following the breakup of his marriage is a talented, quirky girl who compliments his own quirks nicely. Yet throughout the relationship, he is obsessed with her ears, a part of her, instead of the whole of her. She, on the other hand, has shown herself to be quite devoted to him, even supporting and joining him on his quest for the sheep.

These examples, plus his long-running friendship with his business partner and the company that they ran together, all worked together to form a meaning to his life that "Max" was unable to recognize or embrace. He was on his own sheep chase looking for meaning that he already had. When he finally caught up with The Rat and had their final chat on the mountain, he realized, to a small degree, what he had been doing wrong. The Rat had left everything he knew behind, including a woman who loved him, in search of new environments and new adventure in hope of some new meaning in life. What he ended up doing was forsaking the people and life that cared about him, that gave his existence meaning, and was overtaken by the mythical sheep. The encounter and habitation with the sheep revealed to The Rat that he had wasted his true meaning and life and was now left with an empty existance, when he should have appreciated and found meaning in the path he was originally given. The results for The Rat were thusly catastrophic. "Max", realizing this, leaves the mountainside with no girlfriend, no business, no business partner, and no wife, but with the enlightenment that it is not too late to find meaning in his life.

As a side story, the Sheep Professor serves as a microcosm of the larger plot. Having everything he needed in a profession that he loved and a family who cared for him, he gave it all up and sought "the sheep". He had the sheep as a part of him for a period of time, only to lose even that. In the end he was left with nothing except a son who wished that his father had cared more about him.

I loved the way that "Max's" emotions were described throughout the novel and how through "Max" we can see the results of not appreciating what we have, and also the overall process of what it is like to develop emotionally and truly realize what is important to us, what fulfills us, and what we need to do to keep those things in our lives.
Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,566 reviews56.5k followers
September 22, 2021
Hitsuji o Meguru Bōken = A Wild Sheep Chase (The Rat, #3), Haruki Murakami

This quasi-detective tale follows an unnamed, chain-smoking narrator and his adventures in Tokyo and Hokkaido in 1978.

The story begins when the recently divorced protagonist, an advertisement executive, publishes a photo of a pastoral scene sent to him in a confessional letter by his long lost friend, 'The Rat.' He is contacted by a mysterious man representing 'The Boss,' a central force behind Japan's political and economic elite who is now slowly dying.

The Boss' secretary tells him that a strange sheep with a star shaped birthmark, pictured in the advertisement, was in some way the secret source of the Boss' power and that he has two months to find that sheep or his career and life will be ruined.

The narrator and his girlfriend, who possesses magically seductive and supernaturally perceptive ears, travel to the north of Japan to find that sheep and his vagabond friend. As he discovers that he is chasing an unknowable power that has been exerting its influence for decades, he encounters figures from his own past, unusual characters, and those who have encountered the sheep before.

عنوانهای چاپ شده در ایران: «تعقیب گوسفند وحشی - کتاب سه - سری موش صحرایی (رت)»؛ «شکار گوسفند وحشی - کتاب سه - سری موش صحرایی (رت)»؛ نویسنده: هاروکی موراکامی؛ تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز پنجم ماه فوریه سال 2017میلادی

عنوان: تعقیب گوسفند وحشی - کتاب سه - سری موش صحرایی (رت)؛ نویسنده: هاروکی موراکامی؛ مترجم: مهدی غبرایی؛ تهران، نیکونشر، 1392؛ در 360ص؛ شابک 9789647253628؛ موضوع داستانهای نویسندگان ژاپن سده 20م

عنوان: شکار گوسفند وحشی - کتاب سه - سری موش صحرایی (رت)؛ نویسنده: هاروکی موراکامی؛ مترجم: محمود مرادی؛ تهران، نشر ثالث، 1392؛ در 422ص؛ شابک 9789643803761؛

چکیده: شخصیت اصلی این رمان مردی ژاپنی و بدون نام، و سی ساله است، که در تعقیب یک گوسفند وحشی که در جسم انسان‌ها حلول می‌کند، از توکیو به هوکایدو سفر می‌کند؛ دوست مرد برای او عکسی از یک سری گوسفند در چمنزار می‌فرستد، و مرد نیز در روزنامه آن عکس را چاپ می‌کند و بعد افرادی به سراغ او آمده و او را مجبور می‌کنند که گوسفند را برای آنها پیدا کند

متن پشت جلد: (در تعقیب گوسفند وحشی 1989میلادی- شخصیت اصلی و راوی، وجود میانمایه‌ ای دارد؛ شور و شوقی ندارد؛ انگار به خیانت زنش، و سپس جدایی او بی اعتناست، و تنها به این دلیل جلب نامزد تازه‌ اش می‌شود، که گوشش «شگفتی آفرینش» است؛ و هرکس آن را ببیند، در برابرش بی اختیار میشود؛ با این نکته که در سراسر کتاب، هیچ شخصیتی نام واقعی ندارد، بر این منظر سطحی تاکید میشود؛ هنگامی که «رت»، دوست خانه به دوش راوی، عکسی از گوسفندها، در «هوکایدو» برایش میفرستند، سلسله زنجیر رخدادها به حرکت درمیآیند؛ عکس گوسفندها، توجه چهره ای نیمه پنهان، که فقط به رییس مشهور است - یکی از مهره های اصلی اسطوره ی نیرومند دنیای زیرزمینی - را به خود جلب میکند، که نیاز مبرمی دارد، تا به یکی از گوسفندهای عکس، دست یابد؛ رئیس، منشی خود را پیش راوی میفرستد، و حالیش میکند، که اگر گوسفند را برایش پیدا نکند، با عواقب وخیمی روبرو خواهد شد؛ آنچه در پی میآید، سفری فراواقعی «سورئال»، از «توکیو» به «ساپورو»، و شمال «ژاپن» است، هتلی -هتل دلفین-، که انگار از یکی از فیلمهای «استنلی کوبریک»، سر برآورده، و موجودی ملقب به «استاسفند»، که در خور فیلمهای «دیوید لینچ» است؛ راوی طی این سفر، و در برخورد با رخدادهای فراواقعی، با جهان بینی ساختگیی خود، و تاثیری که بر زندگیش میگذارد، رودررو میشود)؛ پایان نقل از پشت جلد با اصلاح

تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 12/09/1399هجری خورشیدی؛ 30/06/1400هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for Andrew Smith.
1,050 reviews578 followers
May 10, 2023
A play on the old saying ‘a wild goose chase', I'm afraid this book reads more like another old saying, ‘a complete waste of time’. It felt to me that a random series of events had been linked together to form a very loose and aimless narrative. I really had no idea what was going on or what I’m supposed to take from this tale.

I’m a fan of the author and I believe he’s written some stunning books, my personal favourites (in order) being:
1. 1Q84
2. The Wind-up Bird Chronicle
3. Kafka on the Shore
4. Norwegian Wood

Although the order of the first three is interchangeable, depending on my prevailing mood.

I should have been forewarned regarding this offering as I’d previously, randomly, read Dance, Dance, Dance which I found incomprehensible. They’re both part of the mini-series of ‘Rat’ books Murakami penned through the 80’s and 90’s and AWSC is the precursor to DDD. I’d rather hoped that the former would provide some structure and some background to the latter but I’m afraid it just didn’t hold my interest sufficiently to fully test this. I found myself drifting off through sections of the book and the whole thing just washed over me without leaving much of an impression at all. So, the answers might have been there... I really don't know.

So why two stars and not only one? Well, at heart, this is a detective story and I like detective stories. There are too many unlikely coincidences and shaky plot connections here but Murakami’s natural flow is also evident – it’s easy to read and has some nice lines. Also, I only ever give one star to books I can’t bring myself to finish and I did finish this one.

My advice is give this one a miss but do catch up with his better work, you won’t be sorry you did.
Profile Image for Megha.
79 reviews1,074 followers
April 28, 2009
'A Wild Sheep Chase' is a trippy tale with a mix of detective story, myth, fantasy and philosophy. Though it can be enjoyed simply as a fable at its face-value, just a little thought reveals a multi-layered allegory. On one hand, "the sheep" could signify post-war Japan itself. At the same time, the protagonist's sheep chase also ends up being a search for his own identity, his emotions and meaning of his existence. It is as much a physical journey as a spiritual journey. There are also several references to Japan's history, its cultural and spiritual beliefs, which fit very smoothly with the obvious western influence and pop-culture allusions. For a multi-layered story, the writing is deceptively simple. It was mainly the last few chapters where the symbolism struck home and left me thinking about the novel long after I had finished reading it.

More than the plot, it is the little things about Murakami's writing which make this book memorable. What I am going to remember the most is how Murakami captures the mood of a place or a moment of time. It is as if a room or a rock or wind are really alive and that time, darkness, silence have several characteristics of their own. There is marvelous imagery, astounding descriptions of natural landscape and beautiful metaphors. The lead character is apathetic and mostly emotion-less, yet he does notice the shimmer of water in the sunlight or chirping of birds. He also has an interesting way of looking at mundane things and his thoughts often wander in strange directions. And Murakami's sense of humor is so cute!

(PS: If I happen to see a sheep during the next few days, it might creep me out a little. Damn you magic sheep!)
Profile Image for Lori.
358 reviews425 followers
May 11, 2020
A roller coaster of a book. Since it's hard to describe and others have already done so, I'm just going to go with how it made me feel to read it. An unorthodox way to review a book, but maybe not for a book made of magical realism, mystery, philosophy, sex, drinks, rock and roll and of course the ubiquitous sheep, in which you never learn the names of the characters and they really don't matter anyway. At times it's all wheeeeeeeee and then it's ooooof, then more wheeeeee and ooooooof with some whooooaaaa and woooohoooo, put your hands up and submit to the fun of structured chaos. I didn't understand all of this book but I loved all of it. And like I feel when I get off a roller coaster, I immediately wanted to go again. Which is why I'm reading the sequel, "Dance Dance Dance."
Profile Image for Jen - The Tolkien Gal.
458 reviews4,417 followers
September 28, 2021
Was this a good book?

Hell yes

Was this Murakami's best?

No, but he does hold high standards for himself.

Did I enjoy it?


Was I confused since I read the third in this series first?

Definitely, but it's Murakami so it might have been more confusing had I known the backstories.

Do I remember any of the plot?


Was the man dressed as a sheep/sheep man scary?


Would I recommend this book?

Definitely. I loved it. Can't remember why, or how, but it was good. 11/10 would read again.

Image result for sheep costume

2021 edit: The full backstory behind this review is that I had been a sleep-deprived university student reading books from the library in a study cubicle instead of studying. Maybe it was my monkey brain at the time, but I genuinely don't know how much I would enjoy this now.
Courtesy of Jen's mini reviews
Profile Image for Shawn McComb.
46 reviews5,814 followers
October 16, 2022
can’t wait to read more from him…. Norwegian Wood still not good tho🤣
Profile Image for Jenna ❤ ❀  ❤.
789 reviews1,180 followers
February 14, 2020
This book is incredibly imaginative and has vibrant, colourful characters I enjoyed. However, I feel like Haruki Murakami added many layers of meaning to this book and if so, they elude me. If there is an underlying meaning to this book, I can't tell you what the heck it is. Or maybe there is no underlying meaning. Maybe it's just a magical story and my brain always wants there to be something more.  

For the most part,A Wild Sheep Chase is an enjoyable story and I'll probably go back and read the first in the series.  However, there were some parts that really dragged, preventing me from giving this 5 stars.
Profile Image for J.L.   Sutton.
666 reviews864 followers
May 6, 2023
"Have your ears ever exerted a power over anyone other than me?
You want to know whether my ears have special powers?"

A Wild Sheep Chase - Murakami on Behance

In Haruki Murakami's A Wild Sheep Chase, the narrator learns that his adventure will begin with a wild sheep chase. Without knowing what that means, he quits his old life and embarks on an odyssey that takes him and the girl with the exquisite and powerful ears in search of a specific sheep. After reading several of Murakami's novels, I've learned that it is never enough to say that his novels are quirky.

The narrator's adventures seem like scattered dream images that we'll be able to piece together if we can just connect the dots. Therein lies the problem. That's also what the narrator is trying to do.
He is trying to make sense of this new world he is confronted by just like we are. And he is as often in the dark. What are we to make of the narrator, the Rat (who first enters the story with a letter to our narrator) or the Sheep Professor? I'm not sure it is as well developed as some of Murakami's later works, but it is an interesting and engaging read.
Profile Image for Chris_P.
382 reviews250 followers
April 14, 2018
I wrote the following review two and a half years ago. Now that I've read A Wild Sheep Chase again, I don't think there's any need to change anything. Or maybe there's a great need to do so, I'm not sure. In any case, I'd rather put Benny Goodman's Airmail Special and breathe in deep the spring evening air.

On the back cover of this special 3D edition of "The Wild Sheep Chase", there's this quote by The Washington Post which goes like this: "Lean forward and topple headlong into magic". Well, it couldn't be more aptly put!

You know when you read something which as a story, is not particularly great, and yet deep inside you find it amazing? It's like there are two parts of you that simultaneously read the story. The pragmatistic part, that interprets what you read in a matter-of-fact way, and the emotional part that sort of does so in a more inner and abstract fashion that you can't really put your finger on. For instance (and this is only a minor spoiler, so don't worry), the part where the girlfriend leaves the house on the mountain, made me feel inexplicably sad. Though Murakami doesn't seem to deliberately try to make you feel sad at that particular point, I felt genuine and pure sadness. Like a reflective reaction. I really hope what I'm trying to say gets through so far.

This is the third book of The Rat series and Murakami's third novel overall. Like any of his works, this one can be read in two ways: as a modern fairytale about a man on a quest to find a special sheep, or as an allegory of a modern person's quest to find the meaning of life. Choosing the former (although it's not so much a matter of choice), one misses a lot and probably ends up baffled and frustrated.

Many of Murakami's stereotypic allegorical themes are there. Unnamed characters for instance which, the way I see it, is a way to portray the also unnamed protagonist's detachment from everyone. Indeed our hero, like most of Murakami's heroes, shows a tendency to avoid emotional connections. Not even his cat has a name, until a secondary character gives it one. What's more, there is a constant uncertainty throughout the book of what is real and what is not, as realistic facts mingle with... not so realistic facts. There is even a point toward the end where the main protagonist is unsure of who and why he really is. These elements really hit home and are the main reason Murakami gets so much praise from me.

Trying to rationalize everything you read in this book won't work, so don't waste your time. You should rather let your inner eye read this amazing story about sheep. Trust me, you never know what you might discover within the pages of "The Wild Sheep Chase".
Profile Image for Chris Shaffer.
89 reviews10 followers
October 18, 2007
When one is approached by a random person and asked to locate a life form that is physically unable to exist, but which you have a picture of, and you choose to do it because you have to, you know you're in for something fantastical. Part noir thriller, part philosophical daydream, the wild sheep chase moves effortlessly along (partially due to the brilliant translation), and scene by scene we are more and more drawn into the story of soon to be thirty year old J. Philosophical detours into entymology, time and space, and the nature of what it means to have arrived just too late abound, and they're actually fun to think about (too much philosophical jargon really gets me going).

One of my favorite themes was the notion of silence, especially one that follows some kind of dramatic action. Several times throughout the novel the protagonist finds himself on a room, both alone and with other people, where different kinds of silence rest on things. I was blown away by the different ways one could express a single concept, and in each new description bring a completely new meaning to the word. For example, "The silence was not unlike the feeling one could get when the last curtain closes after a performance, the audience now gone, and the janitor, perhaps a man in his fifties with a wheeze, stands for a moment to inspect the job before getting on with the sweeping."
Or: "A silence hung in the room as if a window, open since earlier in the day, had finally been shut, the dust now settling onto the furniture."

You see what I mean. It's little things in this book. And things that are not said. Those always get me.

Ultimately, this was a very satisfying read, and I highly recommend it. And I'm probably going to read others.

Profile Image for  Teodora .
303 reviews1,632 followers
April 18, 2023
4/5 ⭐

Officially, this is my first Murakami novel and guess what? I LIKED IT

I mean it had a lot of advantages and I'll actually list them for you:

1) it was a relatively short read;
2) the writing style made the story flow easily so even if you don't know what to expect you'll still manage to read 50 pages in one sitting;
3) you'll get some Squid Game vibes from it at some point during the story (trust me, if you watched the TV show then you won't really be able to unsee what I just said);
4) there are NO NAMES to be bothered with remembering; literally, the only name you'd actually see there is the name of the old cat the main character owns;
5) the whole narrative is bizarre, the characters seem to lack personality or even some vitality sometimes but in a way, it kind of makes sense to act like that, after all, they're all Japanese people in 1970s Japan, they just fit the vibe of the time and the place;

Aside from all that, this book has been the type that manages to transcend normality and reality and it blends in the fantastic and the supernatural so well that at some point you can't tell when it's real and when it's not. It looks like the storyline just smoked something funky and now everything and everyone in there is high.

I know Murakami might not be everyone's cup of tea but if you ever want to try something of his, you can most definitely try this one, it's short, quick and quite funky.
Profile Image for carol..
1,532 reviews7,856 followers
July 17, 2011
An interesting read, three and a half stars for beauty in language. While I can't say I "really liked it" in the "will re-read one day" sense, I appreciated the richness of the ideas and language offered. I normally tend to devour a book in two or three sittings, but this was a book that worked well reading three or four chapters a night, breaking into small, choice pieces. Although there is a mystery that drives the plot, I would hesitate to say that is the focus of the book, so I didn't feel like I lost tension or details. Murakami seems to work best for me when savored in little bites with the opportunity to linger over phrasing, rather than reading for plot or conflict resolution. I also couldn't escape the nagging feeling that I was missing considerable subtext, as I know almost nothing about Japanese history, or even culture. It had very Vonnegut or Kafka overtones, where there is potentially digressive philosophical musing, and whose impact is strengthened by underlying meaning.

I enjoyed the book, and didn't even feel that it was particularly unrealistic, as other reviewers have charged. I know those kind of people that get into existential discussions with taxi drivers, if not chauffeurs.

One of the only aspects that bothered me what the emotional depression of the narrator. While I'm sure it was intentional, it made it hard to sustain interest in him as a character study. I suppose that could have been the point--just another nameless, disenfranchised person passing out of his twenties and distanced from everything of meaning in life. Nonetheless, Murakami and the translator achieved really wonderous feats with their word choices, and have a knack for gestalt description, for crafting line upon line that builds a priceless whole. It's given me courage to attack my long-unread copy of The Wind-up Bird Chronicles.

Favorite lines:

At the pinnacle of this tower was affixed a decorative lightning rod. A mistake. Lightning was meant to strike the building and burn it down.

The sofa was an unappealing orange, the sort of orange you'd get by leaving a choicely sunburnt (sic) weaving out in the rain for a week, then throwing it into the cellar until it mildewed. This was an orange from the early days of Technicolor.

"Haven't those ears of yours gotten the message yet?"
"No message for the time being," she said, eating her simmered fish and miso soup. "That much I know. I only get despairing messages when I'm confused or feeling some mental pinch. But that's not the case now."

The children were quiet too. They sat still and stared out the window. Occasionally, someone coughed with a dry rasp that sounded like a mummy tapped on the head with a pair of tongs.
Profile Image for Deniz Balcı.
Author 2 books576 followers
January 19, 2016
İlk olarak şunu söylemek istiyorum. Bu kitabı okuduktan sonra kitap forumlarında vb. yerlerde, birçok "Japonya hakkında fikir sahibi olmak amacı ile okuduğum..."gibi yorumlar okudum. Böyle bir şey öncelikle çok yanlış. Bu kitapla, sadece bu değil bu değil bütün Murakami kitapları ile Japonya, Japon Kültürü ve Japonlar hakkında sağlıklı bilgi edinemezsiniz. H.Murakami yazdıkları Japonya ile iliştirilebilecek son Japon yazar. Tanizaki, Mişima, Dazai, Agutagava, Kavabata vb. yazarlar okuyarak gerçek Japon Edebiyatı ile tanışabilirsiniz.

Bunu geçersem eğer Yaban Koyununun İzinde, en rahat okunan Murakami kitaplarından bir tanesi ve bence başlangıç için en uygun olanı. Çünkü yazarın edebiyatına hakim olan anlatım ve öğeler bu kitapta eşit düzeyde yayılmış bulunmakta. Murakami, normalde asla olmasına ihtimal vermeyeceğimiz şeyleri genel gerçekçilik içinde bir imge karmaşası içinde kullanan bir yazar. Bu yüzden hikayeleri anlamlandırmanın bir yararı yok. Ancak imgelerle üzerine düşünebileceğiniz bir harita sunuyor. Açıkçası bu karmaşık ve absürd hatta fazla hayalci imgelemler beni "Zemberekkuşu'nun Güncesi"nde çok yormuştu. O kadar uzun bir eser boyunca bitmek bilmeyen bir anlamsızlık furyası bir heveste okuma isteği olanlar için bilhassa, zorluk yaratıyor. Bu kitapta da aynı durum var. Ancak bu kez hem romanın daha kısa olması hem de olayın "birlik" taşıması durumu kolaylaştırıyor. Yan öyküler fazla ayrıntılı kurulmadığından zihin dağılmıyor.

Yine her romanında olduğu gibi bu romanın içinden de müzik geçiyor. Müzik belli bir amaç taşımadan, tamamen yazarın beğenileri doğrultusunda her zaman romanlarda kendine yer buluyor. Sizde eğer jazz, blues, klasik batı müziği ve klasik rock ile ilgili iseniz romandaki atmosferleri kafada yaratmanız daha kolay oluyor.

Benim takıldığım başka bir konu daha var. Bazı yazarlar diyalog yazma ile romanlarını yürütürler. Karakterlerin konuşmaları kitabı ileriye taşır. Salinger, Dostoyevski, Tolstoy, Hardy, Mo Yan, Palahniuk gibi bazı isimler farklı dönemlerde, farklı stillerde yazmış olsalar bile en iyi becerdikleri şey diyalog ile hikaye ilerletmeleridir. Ben Murakami'de de böyle bir sevda görüyorum. Ancak o kadar postmodern konuşmalar yazıyor ki, konuşmalar bir bütünlük taşıyamıyorlar. Sürekli olarak insan Murakami'nin ne denli geniş bir hayalgücü olduğunu idrak ediyor. Aklına ket vurmamış ve ucu nereye giderse, aklı nasıl bir çağrışım yaparsa yazmış gibi hissettiriyor. Elbette başarılı olduğu noktalar yok değil benim açımdan ama yorucu, bazı zamanlarda da itici olduğunu düşünüyorum.

Bu romanda da, H.Murakami romanlarının çoğunda da o an okurken aldığınız verim esas. Sonrasında çok fazla kalmıyor. İnsanın beyni bu denli çarpışık, düzensiz, dağınık görsel/işitsel/metaforik imgeleri, puzzle misali kurabilmek ve yeniden tanımlayıp anlandırmak açısından yeterli değil. Eğer yazarın bir matematiği varsa bu çok ileri düzey bir şey olmalı diye düşünüyorum.

Onun dışında ne desem boş, Murakami ne kefil olup okuyun diyebileceğim bir yazar, ne de asla okumayın diyip kendimce lanetleyebileceğim bir yazar. Okuyorum işte... Arada düşünüyorum, bazı taşları yerine oturtmaya çalışıyorum, sonra dönüp kitap bitince cevapsız kalan soruların arkasından bakıyorum vs. En iyisi okuyup kendinizin karar vermesi. Bu kitap yazarın sihirli gerçekçilik dünyasının kapısını en isabetli ve dozajlı açtığı romanlarından biri bence. O yüzden önceliği buna verebilirsiniz gibi geliyor.

İyi okumalar.
Profile Image for Soheil Khorsand.
304 reviews164 followers
May 22, 2021
تعقیب گوسفند وحشی٬ سومین رمان از مجموعه‌ی «رت» نوشته‌ی هاروکی موراکامی نویسنده‌ی مشهور ژاپنی‌ست.

اگر عنوانِ اول مجموعه(به آواز باد گوش بسپار) را آردِ گندم و عنوان دوم مجموعه(پینبال۱۹۷۳) را نمک قلمداد کنم٬ باید اعتراف کنم موراکامی بدون آب٬‌ خمیر نان و تنور از آن یک نانِ بی‌نهایت خوشمزه پخت. هرچند دوستان زیادی معتقد هستند که برای خواندنِ این رمان نیازی به خواندنِ ۲ عنوان نخست نیست اما من با این دسته از عزیزان مخالفم و به دوستانِ خود پیشنهاد می‌کنم حتما ۲ عنوانِ نخست را مطالعه کنند چون در این رمان شخصیت‌ِ اول داستان بارها به یاد خاطراتی می‌افتد که آنها را قبلا خوانده‌ایم و از آنجایی که این رمان از دسته‌ی رمان‌های سورئال موراکامیست و در هنگام خواندن رمان به اندازه‌ی کافی ممکن است برایتان سوالات و ابهاماتی پیش آید لازم است خاطراتِ گذشته را بدانیم تا در آن بخش‌های کتاب مثل چوب خشک با دهان باز به دیوار روبروی خود نگاه نکنیم.

از دیدِ من که با خواندنِ کافکا در ساحل و جنگل(چوب) نروژی عاشق موراکامی شدم این کتاب را هم بسیار دوست داشتم٬ درسته که رمان مثل کافکا در ساحل نبود که بعد خواندنش در ریویو بیایم و با یک حس خاص بنویسم روحم به ارگاسم رسید اما خیلی دوستش داشتم٬ تصویر پردازی که موراکامی از کوهستان‌های هوکایدو و مسیر راه به روی کاغذ آورد بی‌نظیر بود و خودم را همراه و همگامِ شخصیتِ اول داستان در کوهستان حس می‌کردم٬ نویسنده حتی از آواهایی که پرندگان سر می‌دادند نگذشت و آن‌ها را به زیباترین شکل ممکن داخل رمان گنجاند.

داستان رمان در مورد شخصیه که همانندِ عناوینِ اول و دومِ مجموعه، نامِ او را نمی‌دانیم و نخواهیم دانست٬ او از همسر خود طلاق می‌گیرد و با دختری که صاحب گوش‌هایی جادویی‌ست دوست می‌شود٬ همچنان در دفتری که با شریکش که در عنوان قبلی خواندیم مشغول کار ترجمه و تبلیغات است که با مردی عجیب روبرو می‌شوند٬ آن مرد از شریکش می‌خواهد یکی از قراردادهای کاریِ خود را به دلیلی که در رمان می‌خوانیم با یکی از مشتریانِ خود لغو کنند٬ پس از ملاقاتِ شخصیتِ دوست داشتنیِ‌ داستان با آن مرد عجیب در خانه‌ي قصر مانند آنها٬ داستان مریض و معماگونه‌ی رمان آغاز می‌شود٬ او مأمورِ‌ یافتنِ گوسفندی عجیب می‌شود که روی بدنش علامتِ ستاره دارد و با دوست دخترش رهسپارِ کوهستان‌های هوکایدو می‌شود٬ قبل و بعد سفر با شخصیت‌های جالبی همچون استادِ‌ گوسفندشناسی٬ مردِ گوسفندی و همچنین موش(همان دوست قدیمی) ملاقات می‌کند و ...

در آخر من ۵ ستاره به کتاب دادم چون هیچ ایرادی نتوانستم در رمان پیدا کنم٬ همه چیز عالی بود و انتظاراتم را برآورده کرد٬ ضمنا با اینکه مجموعه‌ی «رت» را سه‌گانه قلمداد می‌کنند اما همانطور که در ریویوهای قبلی عرض کردم این شاید اولین سه‌گانه‌ی دنیاست که دارای ۴ رمان است و اگر عمری باشد به سراغ آخرین رمانِ این مجموعه یعنی (رقص رقص رقص) نیز خواهم رفت.

خواندنِ این کتاب را به عاشقان موراکامی٬ خواننده‌هایی که عاشق داستان‌های سورئال و اشخاصی که قوه‌ی تخیل خوبی دارند پیشنهاد می‌کنم و امیدوارم از خواندن آن لذت ببرید.
Profile Image for Mutasim Billah .
112 reviews193 followers
August 1, 2018
“I don't really know if it's the right thing to do, making new life. Kids grow up, generations take their place. What does it all come to? More hills bulldozed and more ocean fronts filled in? Faster cars and more cats run over? Who needs it?”

This is the first book Murakami wrote as a full-time novelist, and his third overall. The third book in the Rat Trilogy, the story revolves around a strange mystery surrounding an enigmatic sheep in Hokkaido, and how the narrator starts on an adventure to find something that even he can't grasp properly. Here, Murakami touches up on themes like right-wing politics in Japan, and ear fetish.

Take a dip into this fast-paced mystery with a strange surrealistic undertone, as we smoke Seven Stars and enjoy the dull, cold weather of Sapporo, searching for a long-lost friend.
Profile Image for emily .
241 reviews2,102 followers
April 16, 2023
Murakami himself said that his writing career really only began with A Wild Sheep Chase, and I can see why.

While his first two novels aren't "bad" per se (although I guess this is a rather subjective take), they do lack in certain areas. What A Wild Sheep Chase does better than its predecessor(s), is the fact that it has a more solid structure. It follows a clear plot (although one could argue as to how "clear" it is, since it does occasionally venture into the surreal) which makes it possible for the reader to get more invested in the story.

In my review, I compared Hear the Wind Sing and Pinball, 1973 to Hopper Paintings, due to the melancholy, detached feeling that those novels conveyed to me. A Wild Sheep Chase feels more like a shabby hotel lobby to me. Why? Honestly, I'm not so sure. Maybe because this book just feels like it would make for a perfect travel companion, because a) it makes you want to go out and Experience Things and b) it follows two people who go on a rather crazy adventure (a wild sheep chase, if you will) and I'd imagine it would be great to read on the go. A Wild Sheep Chase does not stay in the same place, and it almost dares you to get up and go do some exploring - or perhaps discovering? - of your own.


The writing, once again, really worked for me here. I love the way Murakami portrays alienation in his characters, as it's something I can somehow relate to. [Side note, characters in Japanese literature generally seem to have a bit more of a "skewed" perception of reality (at least that's what I've gathered so far) and I think that's why it almost always works for me.]

I also loved the settings in this book, especially the semi-closed setting at the end (which I cannot talk about due to spoilers) and whenever I pick up my copy of A Wild Sheep Chase I find myself transported back, if only temporarily, to those places. It's incredible how vivid they still appear in my mind. Murakami definitely knows how to create atmosphere with his settings.

Now, you may be thinking: Why is this weirdo (me) praising this book so much, yet she's still giving it "only" 3.5 stars?

Do not fret, my friend.

Here is what I didn't like about this book:

There is one thing in literature that I dislike above everything. Yes, even above annoying characters, and slow pacing, and the miscommunication trope. I hate it even more than the sentence "She let out a breath she didn't know she was holding in". (Yes, I went there.)

The thing is.... I don't like being confused.

Especially when I know I'm not supposed to be confused.

As in, technically everything is supposed to at least kind of make sense, but my head for some reason just WILL NOT wrap its silly little mind around it. And what's worst of all? I know it's probably my fault (and that is pretty much unacceptable, for I am not supposed to feel shitty about myself. I'm soooooo great actually. Nothing should EVER be My Fault, you know?)

Somehow, I couldn't quite follow this book at times, and I feel like a lot of things are still lost to me, making the plot a fragmented, half-formed thing. Again, this is not the books fault, but entirely mine - I'm sure it makes sense to the general audience, (or at least they are aware of what is supposed to make sense and what isn't) - and I'm the one at fault here.

Sucks to say, but it is what it is.


Conclusion (TLDR):

I really liked A Wild Sheep Chase! And the crazy part is that I feel like the more time passes, the more I like this book (which is an incredibly rare and thoroughly welcome phenomenon, if you ask me). I already want to reread this novel, because I think I might actually fall in love with it if I just gather all of the things I missed the first time and put them into place.

I'm excited to read Hardboiled Wonderland and the End of the World next month!

Well, that's all I have to say.

Thank you for reading!



I have decided to read every novel that Haruki Murakami has ever written, in chronological order (yes, even after what happened with Kafka on the Shore*....). I read roughly one book per month and then summarize all of my thoughts in reviews like these. Always feel free to share your opinion(s) in the comments!

Ratings & Reviews:

1) Hear the Wind Sing & Pinball, 1973 ★★½

2) A Wild Sheep Chase ★★★½


*Basically, I posted an obviously satirical rant on how gross I think milk is and thousands of people took it a little too seriously and brutally murdered me in an Instagram comment section. (I am not kidding btw). Sometimes I lie awake at night thinking about how someone said I probably have weak bones...
Profile Image for مجیدی‌ام.
213 reviews110 followers
March 8, 2016
برخلاف تصور خودم، کتاب دو روز زودتر تموم شد، از اون دست کتاب هایی هست که 150 صفحه آخرش اجتناب ناپذیره و آدم به اون آخرا که می رسه ترمز می بره!

برعکس تصور و تبلیغات خیلی از سایت ها و انتشارات، من توصیه می کنم کتاب های چهارگانه رت رو به ترتیب بخونید، این کتاب، سومین کتاب این مجموعه بود، اگه شماره یک و دو رو نخونید، خیلی از جاها نسبت به خاطرات و شخصیت ها براتون سوال پیش می یاد که اگه جوابشونو ندونین لذت کتاب رو خیلی کم می کنه...
موراکامی گاهی توی این کتاب یاد خاطراتی می افته که توی کتاب اول و دوم رخ دادن و یجورایی واجبه شماره ها رو به ترتیب بخونید.

در مورد خود این کتاب هم باید بگم که انقد سورئال هست که دیگه از مرز تخیلات من گذشته :))
بعضی از صحنه ها، مغز من قدرت تحلیل نداشت و شخصیت ها در فضایی تاریک و زمینه ی سیاه داشتن حرف می زدن، مغز من قدرت صحنه سازی با کتاب رو نداشت :))
این کتاب از افکا در کرانه هم سورئال تر بود بنظر من :))

دو تا توصیه دارم
اول اینکه حتما مجموعه چهارگانه رت رو به ترتیب بخونید
دوم اینکه اگه می خواد برای اولین بار موراکامی بخونید، این کتاب بهترین شروع میشه براتون

پیش به سوی رت چهار :دی
Profile Image for Eh?Eh!.
367 reviews4 followers
December 6, 2010
Thank you again, brian tanabe!

Books like these, I feel like a child who has finally graduated to the grown-up table only to find that the cultery is too big and sharp, the edge of the table is level with my eyes, and the conversation always above my head. But no! I refuse to be demoted back to the kids' table with all the babies! I wanna eat here and contribute to the discussions about whether a vacation home in Hawaii or the SE islands would be better (so boring...zzzz....) and did you catch when the bridesmaid tripped and fell on the groom hahahaha oops there's a kid here (*eyes snap open* what?) and the land war brewing in Asia and, and, whatever it is grown-ups talk about. Which is still mysterious to me.

I'm reminded of when I tried to read The Crying of Lot 49 with Elizabeth and Ceridwen (you're supposed to flip back and forth between their posted reviews to get the full conversation). It was such a treat to listen to them tear into the book! I didn't understand a word of it! Pass the peas, please.

The confusion Pynchon brought was similar to the confusion from Murakami for me, but I tried to watch for all those double-meaning grown-up things for this book. With the main character and mysterious Boss in a tightly controlled advertising industry, sheep everywhere, a girlfriend with special ears, and a quest to find the meaning of a certain photo, I think it may be something about control of information and loss of individual will that comes with lack of accurate facts? Well. Maybe. I wasn't sure about the significance of the disolving of the main character's patched-together life at the beginning. At the end, I wondered if the character had gone insane. The magic-y bits were unexpected.

I wonder if it would be better to ramp up to Murakami, since I've always had difficulty with English and Literature classes in school and then all my training and work is for such literal things, where metaphors are not used and a sheep is just an animal that requires passage from field to stream. After reading reviews of others who love Murakami (notably, BenH), I know I'm missing much beauty and meaning.

But then I read something like this, http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/39456993, and I feel better. In my larval stage of lit appreciation, it's too easy to attempt to take on other opinions instead of concentrating on my own. Another reason for loving gr, all the varying loves and hates for the same things.
Profile Image for Auggie.
243 reviews78 followers
March 23, 2016

But that's why I loved it!!!

I'm serious. This book was so creepy it had me wiggling around in my seat in discomfort. Yet, I was absolutely captivated! I couldn't put the book down!

If you're a reader looking for a book that will take you more than one read to truly grasp, then this is the book for you. It had my brain churning and my fingers tapping with nervous energy.

I'm not going to give a bit of a run-down of the book as I've done in previous reviews mostly because it would sound too convoluted out of context. All you really need to know is our main character is forced to go chase a non-existent sheep out in the cold country. He gets trapped on a mountain, in a creepy cabin, all alone, and is occasionally visited by a sheep-man.

There you go.

Murakami's imagery is rich and the meaning of his works heavy and grey, like a cloud hanging right over your head while the sun shines everywhere else. He is not an "IN YOUR FACE" horror master. He's the type that likes to really get under your skin in a very subtle way so that he has unguarded access to your subconscious. When he gets there he gets busy digging and thrashing around and without suspecting it... you're suddenly disturbed.

I honestly have no complaints about this book. To be truthful, I really need to read it a few more times to better gather an understanding for the work. As a piece of pure entertainment it's thrilling, as a work of intellect it's probing and there are quite a few exchanges in the book that make you say "Wait... What?" You wish you had the option to raise your hand and ask for an explanation.

A Wild Sheep Chase is a love child of myth and philosophy and there's plenty to decipher along the literary journey from cover to cover. That's what's so nice about it, and it's what makes this book a fantastic one for a book club that's really looking for some grit to grind.

The sheep-man is probably my favorite character, though he's undoubtedly the most bizarre and unsettling. He shows up randomly and you're never quite sure if he's real or not. You're never completely positive that the main character hasn't lost his mind. Near the end of the book you're not even completely positive that you haven't lost your mind. Doesn't that make a darn good book?!

Highly recommend this work. ABSOLUTELY.
Profile Image for Jaclyn.
224 reviews43 followers
May 10, 2023
I don't think I will ever think about sheep the same way again.

Note: None of the characters in this novel have names; they are mutable characters, disposable and fleeting— to readers and to each other.

Anyone of them could be you.

A Wild Sheep Chase is a story about searching for purpose, taking the good things you have for granted, not living up to your potential, the dangers of power….

and yes, sheep. Lots and lots of sheep. And ears.

It is difficult to define the genre, or even summarize the plot. So much happens in A Wild Sheep Chase, and yet it happens at a snails pace.

Essentially our unnamed narrator gets divorced, gets a new girlfriend with powerful ears, and stumbles his way into an otherworldly sheep enterprise. Through no design of his own, the unnamed narrator is thrust into a quest to find a sheep that should not exist with a star on its' back. This sheep has the power to enter people and exists like a kind of mutually beneficial parasite...it uses its' human host to gain power in the human world, and the human benefits by this power. But when it is done with its' host, it leaves them in a state of frustrated impotence.

It is a good metaphor for the allure and danger of power, as well as the loss of identity that can happen when power or purpose is lost.

You could call this a detective novel, you could call it a coming of age novel from the perspective of a man past his prime, you could call it a mystery, you could also call it a philosophical examination of post-war japan's generation/psyche. You can also definitely call it magical realism.

I've now read Murakami's first three works. Of Hear The Wind Sing, Pinball,1973, and A Wild Sheep Chase, A Wild Sheep Chase is the best. None of these books are perfect. But with A Wild Sheep Chase Murakami comes closer to the writing that I absolutely loved in The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle and After Dark.

Thematically Murakami is still concerned with identity: both the identity we portray to others, and the inner, more secret identity. He also continues to mull over meaning and finding purpose in life. Murakami writes urban ennui like no one else I've ever read before.

”My biggest fault is that the faults I was born with grow bigger each year”

”I guess I felt attached to my weakness. My pain and suffering too. Summer light, the smell of a breeze, the sound of cicadas - if I like these things, why should I apologize?”

The novel opens with a funeral. It is bleak and out of context, and doesn't appear to fit with the rest of the novel. But if you consider how Murakami is questioning life and its meaning, it ultimately makes sense to open with the loss of someone else's life. Through the course of the novel Murakami makes readers ask questions like: Does anything matter? Does what I am doing matter? Does life have meaning? Does this journey have a purpose?

The narrator wonders as much himself, as he delves deeper into the quest he has been forced into. His physical journey begins to mirror his mental journey.

My main qualm with this novel is that the first half pales in comparison to the second. The second half of the novel is a different beast, and it is so good that if the entire novel was like the second half this would easily be five stars for me. The ending is near perfect. Everything from the Dolphin Hotel on, but especially once they arrive in Hokkaido. I feel that if the first 168 were condensed to 100, or even 75, the novel itself would read much more concisely. But this is early Murakami we're talking about. Nothing is concise, everything is up to interpretation, endless layers of meaning, or even NO meaning, are available.

I read an article that described this novel as labyrinthine and I'm inclined to agree. There are so many different ways to interpret this, so many different ways to read this. For my part, I tended to read through the lens of identity and of personal purpose. This interpretation worked for me, but maybe it won't for you. That's the beauty of Murakami's crazy labyrinthine writing.

”The song is over. But the melody lingers on.”
Profile Image for Nat K.
415 reviews155 followers
May 9, 2023
“It is special sheep. A v-e-r-y special sheep. I want to find it, and for that I will need your help.”

Whoisthesheep? Whatisthesheep? Whereisthesheep?

The sheep that wants to change the world! Insert "baaaaaa" noises.

A postcard displaying lush green fields and grazing sheep lands on the work desk of our unnamed protagonist. He works in a small translation office, just him and his buddy. Life’s good, they’re their own bosses, cash is flowing at just the right amount. But then this postcard arrives, and with it, trouble. As if you look very closely at the sheep, one of them is anything but ordinary. The race is now on to find this very special sheep, with the clock ticking until our man loses it all.

”Maybe my eyes were playing tricks again. Or maybe somebody did actually spill coffee on that sheep’s back.
‘There’s this faint stain on its back.’
‘That is no stain.’ said the man. That is a star-shaped birthmark.’ “

With the help of his new girlfriend who has exquisite ears, he sells his portion of the business to his friend and takes off on an adventure to the other side of Japan to find the sheep who is the key to it all.

Our friend Rat (who was in Murakami’s first two novels Hear The Wind Sing and Pinball) appears here, but only on the periphery. Since he last walked out of J’s Bar in the early novels, he’s been travelling around Japan. Both to lose himself and find himself. He only keeps in touch with our unnamed protagonist via the odd ambiguous letter, with no return address. The postmarks show the trajectory of his travels. The Sheep is very much a part of his journey.

It was nice to see J from J’s Bar make an appearance here too. While time does not stand still, J remains unchanged. Still very much the same calm, Zen-like manner. New bar, new view, but still J’s Bar.

It’s interesting in that so much of this story reminded me of David Mitchell’s Ghostwritten in that there is a thread here that deals with transference of a living entity entering the body of another in order to survive. Which is where the all-powerful-sheep comes into play. The other curious coincidence is that The Sheep has a star shaped mark on its back, which harks back to the comet shaped birthmark that appears on the skin of so many characters across many of Mitchell’s novels.

” The sheep that enters a body is thought to be immortal. And so too the person who hosts the sheep is thought to become immortal. However, should the sheep decide to escape, immortality goes. It’s all up to the sheep.

People who are abandoned by the sheep are called the ‘sheepless’.”

Hmmmmmmmm…no wonder everyone is looking for The Sheep.

The Sheep Professor and a manic-depressive living wild in the mountains wearing a sheep onesie are eccentric and intriguing to say the least. It’s an odd book with a high quirk factor.

What does any of it mean? Only Murakami knows.

If you like your adventures ovine, and have a bit of a soft spot for our woolly friends, this is the book for you.

3.5 quirky stars.

“We habitually cut out pieces of time to fit us, so we tend to fool ourselves into thinking that time is our size, but it really goes on and on.”
Profile Image for Carlo Mascellani.
Author 17 books259 followers
July 26, 2020
Forse accade a molti di sperimentar, in un momento qualsiasi della loro vita, uno spasmodico desiderio di potere, di successo, di esser altro, di abbandonar i panni sino a quel momento indossati e trasformarsi in qualcosa di meraviglioso. Ma è solo un'illusione di breve durata e che, a seguire, getta chi l'ha accolta nel più cupo sconforto. Solo chi ha la forza di rimaner se stesso e non cedere alle lusinghe di tali, facili risultati, può infine sperar di viver la propria vita con fierezza e compiacimento. Senza rimorsi o rimpianti.
Profile Image for Stefania.
230 reviews23 followers
July 19, 2022
No era lo que me esperaba, me esperaba un hombre hablando con un carnero en plan sabio o algo así 🤣 pero lo mejor de este libro no es lo que se nos dice sino lo que se lee entre líneas. Me ha conquistado.
Profile Image for Mariel.
667 reviews1,053 followers
October 21, 2010

I wish I could have written about Murakami's A Wild Sheep Chase here when I'd read it. I wish that goodreads was around back then. The magical and plain old world as we know it life through best teacher voice (this is my favorite kind of voice because I'm a confused person) that made the every day seem full of possibilities. Sinister possibilities as well as good ones. That's my favorite kind of thing, the ability to make that stuff interesting, with easy humor. I'm really into the build-up of the little things. Just something worth living and writing about, mental connections and wave lengths. I dug the off-kilter off the map stuff not as (sur)reality, but a new voice in my head. It's not hard to relate to being confused about the future. Murakami has written some of my favorite narrarators I've ever read, the kinds of guys that remind me of best friends (or friends I would have, if I ever met people like that). Like from a line in one of his books [probably Norwegian Wood D'oh it was Sputnik Sweetheart! My memory picks the most inconvenient times to correct my gr reviews (such as when I'm trying to sleep).] about having a friend you could call up at three in the morning and talk about anything.

I can't remember everything I thought about it (it must be time for a reread), but I remember very well that elusive things almost making sense and being restless 'cause I couldn't feel like that all of the time. There's something about Haruki Murakami that makes me want to just go somewhere. Those are the strong feelings in my memory gut, and why I'd not hesitate to name A Wild Sheep chase as one of my favorite books. It made me feel something outside of the book, a moving for something...

The sequel Dance, Dance, Dance was not as good to me as A Wild Sheep Chase. What I felt I was almost getting was nowhere to be found (I'll have to review this one sometime because I had a lot of nagging thoughts about the so-called fantasy life of prostitutes. Murakami's later work After Dark is not so short sighted). The prequel Hear the Wind Sing I had to buy from ebay in early '00s. I felt most keenly a longing for something more than really being moved. I really wanted to go somewhere, I recall. Curse my fleeting memory and confused inner voice.

My twin and I sent our brother a post card of a sheep with a drawn on black star on its butt. He devoured every Murakami he could get his hands on. It's too bad I can't send goodreaders sheep postcards.
Profile Image for Neil.
1,007 reviews637 followers
May 28, 2017
Haruki Murakami ran a jazz club in Tokyo prior to his career as an author. And it’s not just the presence of music in his novels that provides evidence of that. It’s also the books themselves which have a very “jazz like” feel to them. Murakami himself has said:

"It's kind of a free improvisation. I never plan. I never know what the next page is going to be. Many people don't believe me. But that's the fun of writing a novel or a story, because I don't know what's going to happen next. I'm searching for melody after melody. Sometimes once I start, I can't stop. It's just like spring water. It comes out so naturally, so easily."

An approach like that means there is plenty of opportunity to riff on a theme, to digress, to take sudden turns for no apparent reason, to go back and forwards.

In fact, to read this book feels rather like being in someone’s head as they are dreaming. There’s a girl who is quite ordinary until she exposes her ears when she becomes extraordinarily attractive and who directs a lot of the action by her powers of intuition. There’s a shadowy presence of a man known only as Boss. There’s a race against time in which nothing happens for prolonged periods. The dreamlike quality of the book is increased by the fact that the narrator often seems to have decisions made for him but then ends up in a conversation where his actions have been aimed at a specific objective: at one point he apparently randomly smashes a guitar to pieces and then later provides an explanation for this almost like a dream where you rationalise weird behaviour by bizarre explanations that make sense within the dream. There are mysterious letters from an old acquaintance (The Rat after whom the trilogy of which this is the last part is named) including a photograph of a sheep. There’s a man in a sheep costume. There’s a Sheep Professor.

As you would expect in a book called A Wild Sheep Chase, sheep play an important role. But the exact nature of that role isn’t quite clear. Further evidence of the dream-like nature of the book. It could be that a sheep is in charge. Of everything.

It’s a thoroughly enjoyable read, probably enhanced by Murakami’s improvisational approach. If the author doesn’t know from page to page where the story is going, there is not really any way the reader can second-guess him! Although when someone is instructed to connect the green wire to the green wire and the red wire to the red wire, you do sort of know where that particular action is going to lead.

It's the sort of genre bending/mixing that Murakami does like no one else. You either love him or hate him. For me, it's the former.
Profile Image for Gauss74.
437 reviews78 followers
February 25, 2018
Se nella stragrande maggioranza dei casi quando inizio un romanzo mi aspetto anche che giri la pagina, che ci sia un intreccio che catturi l'attenzione, Murakami è l'eccezione che conferma la regola. Nei romanzi del grande scrittore giapponese questo aspetto semplicemente non c'è: il ritmo è lento e cadenzato, sono pagine di atmosfere, flussi di pensieri e sensazioni, molto più che di azioni ed eventi. Dovrebbero essere libri noiosissimi: quello che rende grande Murakami è che nonostante tutto non lo sono affatto.

Leggere un libro di Murakami mi fa lo stesso effetto che ascoltare le parole dello psicologo che sussurrando ti accompagna a conoscerti un po' meglio, a rilassarti, a liberarti per qualche momento dalla sovrastruttura. Ed anche questo "nel segno della pecora" mi è piaciuto molto più per il ritmo cadenzato e riposante, per questo suo presentare la normalità come qualcosa di comunque positivo, per l'elegante esercizio intellettuale del creare ancora una vola un nuovo mondo onirico da piccoli particolari apparentemente insignificanti. Viene in mente l'anello che non tiene di Ungaretti.

L'esercizio dell'arte di creare mondi tocca il suo culmine nell'arte dello scrittore giapponese con 1Q84: difficile secondo me fare di meglio. Ma questo "Nel segno della pecora" ne è la naturale premessa (lo è, ovviamente, anche di altri romanzi di Murakami come "Dance dance dance", in cui tra l'altro compare di nuovo il bellissimo personaggio dell'uomo pecora).

E' un libro profondamente maschile, nell'ambientazione e nella scelta del protagonista. E' maschile nelle atmosfere jazz che pervadono tutto il romanzo, nella soffusa, marginale ma ineliminabile voglia di sesso che non abbandona la mente del protagonista (saper rappresentare l'ossessione maschile per il sesso senza essere mai volgare è un altro punto a favore), nella tentazione sempre e comunque vinta di appiattire tutto il mondo femminile al fascino ed alla sessualità, nella tentazione di ridurre le sfide della vita a pensieri ed emozioni semplici.

E' evidente che questo è un romanzo che attrae un lettore maschio, ultratrentenne (ovviamente nei romanzi del Murakami recente l'età sale ai quaranta-cinquanta) e senza famiglia. Ma può piacere anche a chi non risponde a questa descrizione, soprattutto per l'eleganza del grande creatore di mondi che proprio da qui comincia ad emergere.

Per gli appassionati di Murakami, obbligatorio. Per chi ne volesse leggere solo uno o due titoli, secondo me 1Q84 e L'incolore Tazaki Tsukuru gli stanno immensamente sopra.
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