"To sleep with a woman: it can seem of the utmost importance in your mind, or then again it can seem like nothing much at all. Which only goes to say that there's sex as therapy (self-therapy, that is) and there's sex as pastime."
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.
NAMELESS IN MURAKAMI HARUKI’S A WILD SHEEP CHASE by ELIZABETH CARTER University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill
Young and Slangy Mix of the U.S. and Japan - New York Times review by Herbert Mitgang
Murakami Haruki: The Simulacrum in Contemporary Japanese Culture by Michael Seats - chapter on HTWS - except available from Google Book Search:
New York Times - Young and Slangy Mix of the U.S. and Japan By HERBERT MITGANG
Just the Myths Ma'am - New York Times review by ANN ARENSBERG
amazon light page
Pattern Blue review
Three Penny overview of Murakami's work, including Wild Sheep Chase by Francie Lin
Barnes and Noble information on the novel
Nice review from Llemuriabooks
Interesting review from Michael McManlypants (!)
Brooke Horvath's review of A Wild Sheep Chase
Manchester Reading group review by Elizabeth Baines
The Times Audio Book review - by Christina Hardyment
Guardian Audio Book review - by Sue Arnold