A Wild Sheep Chase

Haruki Murakami

The edition of this book might just win the prize for absolute worst jacket description, starting out with:

Forget everything you know about Japan, and enter the postmodern world of Haruki Murakami’s A Wild Sheep Chase, where people sweat about their careers, drink too much, and drift through broken marriages, all without a kimono in sight.

Pathetic!

This was Murakami’s first major novel, and it seems apparent to me, having read several of his more recent books. Though it’s hard not to compare it to the epic and astounding The Wind-up Bird Chronicle as there are a lot of similarities between the stories. It just feels like his fantastical absurdity isn’t as fully developed as it could have been. But half the book takes place in Hokkaido and there is the Sheep Man who “speakslikethis,” and those are enjoyable elements whether comparing or contrasting to other books.

The next Murakami book we’ll get to see in English will come out in January 2005: Kafka on the Shore!