“A Wild Sheep Chase” by Haruki Murakami

Admittedly, I read this book a little while ago but I’m in the middle of reading my second Murakami novel and I wanted to make sure I put this up before I write about that one.

A Wild Sheep Chase by Haruki Murakami (bio) was (simply put) really, really awesome. I couldn’t put it down. The book has a great, quirky plot. This young Tokyoite winds up getting forced by an unnamed, massively powerful mobster to hunt down a rare and mysteriously influential sheep somewhere in the boondocks of Hokkaido.

Murakami has an incredible writing style that I always have difficulty describing. Sentence by sentence the writing may seem somewhat disjointed at first. Readers who are new to Murakami might ask themselves – where is he going with this idea? Why is he talking about this unrelated issue/fact/person/object/etc.? But, if the reader just lets the flow of the writing happen, the unique juxtaposition of images easily conjure up beautiful moments in the reader’s mind. It’s sort of like impressionism.

If you look up close at the canvas of a Monet, you will interpret nothing but indiscriminate brush strokes. If you step back, you’ll realize that these inconsistent, illogical markings are actually the essential foundation of a very complex and vivid image. In the same sense that the impressionist painting relies on the viewer’s willingness to step back and surrender, in a sense, to the composition; Murakami’s writing becomes most vibrant when the reader relinquishes her- or himself to be submerged in what the author has set forth.

Reading Murakami is a great experience and A Wild Sheep Chase is a great book with which to start. The plot certainly grabs onto you. Murakami really knows how to arouse a sense of curiosity in his reader. It will hit you almost instantly. Maybe this is an intentional technique, maybe not. All I know is that it’s effective. It has also happened to me reading The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, but I will get to that one later.


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