A thriller involving political conspiracy, a mythical, metamorphizing sheep-God and a girl whose ears are beautiful enough to silence a restaurant. Heavily influenced by the West, the story is nevertheless set in Tokyo and the snowy north of Hokkaido.
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As with many of Haruki Murakami's novels, the plot curdles with complex diversity only to be resolved by a collision between wild fantasy and outright slapstick. A Wild Sheep Chase refers aptly to the tradition of cool but kitsch detective sagas. Except here, the metaphoric goose is now a literal sheep with a distinctive marking; an urban myth with the promise of immortality.
The anonymous narrator is a mild-mannered thirtysomething with a more than understanding attitude--things happen because they are supposed to and there's no sense standing in the way of progress or nature. It takes the disappearance of a friend and some gentle intimidation from a right wing conglomerate to break the pattern of apathy and send him off on his adventure.
Murakami's detail of the most mundane situations makes his lead character endearing. Those who've read Murakami before will recognise that certain empathy for the strange thoughts and rituals that are now hallmarks of his wry humour. Although an unlikely hero, the quest for a missing friend and the support of a lover with mysterious ears takes him off in search of the elusive sheep in a bizarre adventure--danger and absurdity hindering every movement. --David TruemanReview:
"Wonderfully easy to read and just as wonderfully difficult to make sense of...like the narrator, who slowly accepts the presence in his life of mystery, we slowly recognize the possibility of a new kind of world. Like him, we lean forward and topple headlong into magic" Washington Post "It begins as a detective novel, dips into a screwball comedy, and at its close becomes a tale of possession...A highly accomplished piece of craftsmanship" New Yorker "Mr. Murakami's style and imagination are closer to that of Kurt Vonnegut, Raymond Carver and John Irving" New York Times "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 "If you consider yourself an intelligent, sensitive common reader but wish to accommodate something a little removed from your experience, and probably your imagination, I dare you to turn your eyes towards Murakami and head off on a wild sheep chase." Glasgow Herald
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