Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Review--A Wild Sheep Chase

Book Review

I am really slow to decide whether I liked a book or not, so my reviews are pretty slow in coming. All the same, for the sake of furthering my understanding my own writing, I am going to post reviews of the books I’ve recently finished.

A Wild Sheep Chase (1989)

This book, the third in a series, was Haruki Murakami’s U.S. breakout novel, and it is clear how this powerful, and often pensive novel, made it past the U.S. market border.

On the surface, the book focuses on a quest that the protagonist must go on to avoid having his life destroyed by a man that is only know as “the boss.” The narrator (we never get a name), and his girlfriend (“the girl with perfect ears”) set out to find a mysterious sheep that may or may not be pivotal to the boss’s existence. Along the way, the narrator realizes that an old friend is somehow connected to the sheep and possible the boss. This friend, “the rat,” becomes the focus of how to find one sheep in all of Japan.

The story takes us from urban Tokyo to the very rural Japan in an ever-increasingly bizarre adventure. This story is what I would call literary speculative fiction, as a number of important elements of the story depend of paranormal events. I ended up really liking the book, but it was definitely not a quick or light read. I suppose you could breeze through it, taking in only the quest plot, but what I liked most about the story was the focus on the various character’s interpretation of what was important in life, the quest, and each other. I can’t whole-heartedly recommend the book, but when you are feeling adventurous and patient, pick it up and follow Murakami on his mental hike through human spirit.

Stars (out five)


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