When a powerful man tells you to find something or else, you do what he says. So when the nameless narrator of Murakami's game-changing third novel is tasked with tracking down a uniquely marked sheep pictured in a photo, he begrudgingly accedes. This absurd assignment becomes the catalyst for a surreal, fatalistic journey for the narrator, who, by his own admission, has nothing to lose. But much is at stake in A Wild Sheep Chase, set in Japan in the '70s, and Murakami weaves in commentary on politics, philosophy, and modernity to create a rich, evocative tale. A Wild Sheep Chase was the author's first book to be published in English, and it showcases the irresistible charm and propulsive creative energy of an author destined to become an international sensation. Recommended By Renee P., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
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.
"[A] postmodern detective novel in which dreams, hallucinations and a wild imagination are more important than actual clues. With the help of a fluid, slangy translation, Murakami emerges as a wholly original talent." Publishers Weekly
"That such unruly, disjunctive elements mingle harmoniously within it is perhaps the signal feat in a highly accomplished piece of craftsmanship. If A Wild Sheep Chase is not in itself an unqualified success...it may be something more heartening still for the Japanese novel, a presentiment of fresh outlooks and impulses." The New Yorker
"A delight...equal parts screwball comedy, detective story, and heroic quest." USA Today
"Murakami is a mythmaker for the millennium, a wiseacre wiseman." New York Times Book Review
"Murakami is a daring writer....Sheep Chase draws from both Japanese existentialism and the absurdist work of writers such as [Kobo] Abe. I suspect Murakami is as popular as he is because he is a reader's writer." Lisa Lynch, San Francisco Review of Books
"While the climax of the story is somewhat unrewarding, many readers will enjoy being pulled along by the playful and engaging style and fluid structure. Interesting as an example of current Japanese writing and as an unusually hip and irreverent look at contemporary Japanese society." Library Journal
"Marvelously engaging, at turns witty, dry, wicked, even loopy. Reading A Wild Sheep Chase is like spending a splendidly foul weekend with the Four Raymonds Chandler, Carver, Massey, and Queneau." Frederick Barthelme
About the Author
Born in Kyoto, Japan, in 1949, Haruki Murakami grew up in Kobe and now lives near Tokyo. The most recent of his many honors is the Yomiuri Literary Prize, whose previous recipients include Yukio Mishima, Kenzaburo Oe, and Kobo Abe. His work has been translated into twenty-seven languages.