The Wild Sheep Chase by Haruki Murakami  » Books  »
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  • I thought it was some Murakami trademark that openings were slow yet powerful, promising of a more wonderful read ahead, giving hints as to what the story is about
  • The characters were interesting, with unique characteristics and experiences that are more impossible than possible yet the characterizations were made in a way that unreal characteristics and occurrences felt real
  • Climaxes, I believe, came and went in this novel
  • The last parts of the book were the most boring parts
  • But if you’re just starting on reading Murakami I suggest you start with Hardboiled Wonderland and End of the World or with one of his more popular novels like Sputnik Sweetheart or The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle

    • by ericapaula
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      In contrast with other fictional novels from Haruki Murakami, I was not quite that happy with The Wild Sheep Chase. The usual Murakami elements were present: the unassuming, usually divorced or about to be divorced, nameless, told-in-the-first-person hero thrown into a sudden adventure, the usually plain sidekick achieving moments through witty one-liners and unintended intelligent suggestions, animals that, more often than not, talk and the blurred demarcation between “real” and “unreal”.

      The premise was interesting. A recently divorced man with an ordinary life whose life turned to a not so ordinary one when he meets a girl with sex-improving ears, a right-wing politico, a sheep-obsessed professor, and a runaway friend that will all involve him in a chase to find the sheep that might be running the entire world. And as with most Murakami works, the premise itself promises more blurring, more fusion between the possible and the impossible which made it exciting.

      The Wild Sheep Chase was the third book in the Trilogy of the Rat and was his first work to be translated into English. The other two completing the Trilogy was never translated, Murakami felt like they were not good enough for English readership. The


      book opened quite slow. I thought it was some Murakami trademark that openings were slow yet powerful, promising of a more wonderful read ahead, giving hints as to what the story is about. However the opening of The Wild Sheep Chase lacked power and I spent the first 70 pages trying to figure out what the story was about. After the fourth part I managed to get a feel of what the plot is about and lost it again a couple more pages after.

      The book had its moments; the middle was exceptional, reminiscent of Murakami novels such as Dance, Dance, Dance and Sputnik Sweetheart. The flow was fluid in some parts, however, there were chapters in the book that tended to drag. The characters were interesting, with unique characteristics and experiences that are more impossible than possible yet the characterizations were made in a way that unreal characteristics and occurrences felt real. One good point of this novel is that magic realism was well-executed. Unreal and impossible occurrences blended well into everyday life and felt like they were normal events.

      But then again, I spent more time trying to figure out what it was about, where it ...


      • was supposed to lead and end, and how things were connected. I felt like I was trying so hard to digest the story. Compared to other Murakami novels, it was in that novel where I spent the most time trying to read. It was also in that novel were I anticipated the end more than anything. When I looked back after reading and retraced the flow of the story from the end I felt like I understood it more than when I read it from its proper order.

        Climaxes, I believe, came and went in this novel. The plot swung most of the time, gradually rising and then suddenly falling that after a couple more of those patterns I felt a bit bored of the rhythm. It felt incomplete, like there was no consummation of some sort. The last parts of the book were the most boring parts. The Sheep-Man was the most excruciating among the characters—uncooperative, he let the story drag on for too long.

        I believe the highest point of the climax, let me call it the “real” climax, started rising somewhere near the end and reached its zenith just before the story finished off with

        the usual Murakami anti-climactic, mind-boggling end. However, I think that my eagerness for the climax had been dampened by the, now let me call the little climaxes “mini-climax”, mini-climaxes so that when I reached the “real” climax I didn’t really notice it for I was too busy waiting for the book to end.

        I read his more recent works first and they were brilliant and that being the case I thought The Wild Sheep Chase was probably still “unripe”. It was one of his earliest works anyway. But for an “unripe” novel (comparing it with his more recent ones) The Wild Sheep Chase is good. And I think that if I have read it first I’d most probably like it.

        Probably not Murakami’s best but still a nice read. The book still had its moments anyway. It’s still a sheep chase but not really a wild sheep chase. If you’re a true fan like me it is still worth the effort. But if you’re just starting on reading Murakami I suggest you start with Hardboiled Wonderland and End of the World or with one of his more popular novels like Sputnik Sweetheart or The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle.




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    The review was published as it's written by reviewer in March, 2010. The reviewer certified that no compensation was received from the reviewed item producer, trademark owner or any other institution, related with the item reviewed. The site is not responsible for the mistakes made. 1716031026580231/k2311a0316/3.16.10
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