Murakami is one of my favourite Japanese authors. Admittedly I haven’t yet read one of his more popular books, Kafka on the Shore. There’s some part of me that likes to read the ‘lesser known’ books so that I am not influenced by the reviews I have heard from everyone else who has read it.
A Wild Sheep Chase is actually one of my favourite Murakami books to date as I think it is one of his most absurdly enjoyable. According to Fantastic Fiction (one of the great tools of every bookseller!), this book is part of the Rat series, something I was unaware of. I read this as a stand-alone so I don’t think it would be difficult to follow if you have not read the other books.
The blurb reads,
“His life was like his 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.” ~ Amazon
I love the surreal elements of the story and how there really is a sheep at the centre of this book. A fairly ordinary man becomes ‘quasi-detective’ as he searches for a sheep that has not been seen in years. After he uses a photograph featuring a sheep with a star on its back in an advertising campaign, he attracts the attention of a man who threatens an ultimatum; find the sheep or face unspoken consequences.
I can’t recommend this book enough. It’s funny and surreal but you can’t help but get caught up in the dream-like series of events that border on philosophical. I like a book that makes me ponder…
Have you read any Murakami before? What’s your favourite Murakami book?