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A Wild Sheep Chase

羊をめぐる冒険
Hitsuji o meguru bōken

First published in Japan by Kodansha, 1982

Translated by Alfred Birnbaum

Published in English in 1989 by Kodansha English Library (Japan)

US Edition:
Paperback: 353 pages
Publisher: Vintage (1993)
ISBN: 978-0375718946

UK Edition:
Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Vintage (2000)
ISBN: 978-0099448778

"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."

The third book in the "Trilogy of the Rat" series, it is preceded by Hear the Wind Sing (1979) and Pinball 1973 (1980).

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.

excerpt available on the Random House site

Buy A Wild Sheep Chase on amazon.com
Buy A Wild Sheep Chase on amazon.co.uk

Reviews

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

Slashdot - review by David Mazzotta

Just the Myths Ma'am - New York Times review by ANN ARENSBERG

Haruki Murakami's Supernatural War by Katie Wadell

hanamiweb.com review

amazon light page

The wikipedia page on the novel

librarything.com page for the novel

concretebadger.net review

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

The Fiction Faction discussion by Elizabeth Baines

Interesting review from Michael McManlypants (!)

Brooke Horvath's review of A Wild Sheep Chase

Manchester Reading group review by Elizabeth Baines

Colin Marshall on Matters Cultural review

The Times Audio Book review - by Christina Hardyment

Guardian Audio Book review - by Sue Arnold

A Wild Sheep Chase on LibraryThing

A Visual Bookshelf on Facebook

gogorama review

Review by Elizabeth Baines