My first Murakami book was After Dark, which I only sort of liked. Mostly because I had no idea what I was going to be reading and so I was blindsided by his writing style. The next book I picked up (several years later) was 1Q84 and I promptly fell completely in love with the novel and Murakami’s writing (seriously, I’m a fangirl now). I decided to start as early into his novels as possible and read all of them. Unfortunately, there are two (Hear the Wind Sing and Pinball, 1973) that aren’t available (at least that I can find) translated into English (if they are out there, they’re too rare for me to get a hold of). So I began with his third, A Wild Sheep Chase.
I decided to listen to the audiobook, as I was heading up to my folks for the Labor Day weekend and needed something to listen to in the car. The book, which I listened to on Playaway, was read by Rupert Degas, who did a really good job. It took around 3 hours for me to get to my parents’ place, and if I hadn’t had to stop (and to pee) I could’ve kept driving and listening until I finished the book. Degas’ reading style plus the story itself was riveting. I finished the book quite quickly, too.
A Wild Sheep Chase is just that. It’s the story of a man who ends up trying to track down a sheep with a star on it’s backside. Of course there’s far more to the story than just the sheep chase. There’s the story of the man’s divorce, his new girlfriend (who encourages him to go on the chase) and trips into his past. There’s also the mysterious man who wants him to hunt down this sheep. This novel is also the third in what is call The Trilogy of the Rat (the first two Murakami novels are the first two of the trilogy) and the character of The Rat plays a very important part in A Wild Sheep Chase.
It’s obvious to anyone (and everyone) who knows me, that I was probably going to like this book (after all, I like sheep and I’m the girl who owns the Science of the Lambs t-shirt). But it was just my third Murakami and one of his earlier ones, so I wasn’t sure what to think. I loved it, completely. Maybe Murakami is an acquired taste and I’m at the point where I appreciate his writing (I guess, like people appreciate fine wines? I don’t know), but as soon as I finished A Wild Sheep Chase, I ILL’d his next novel, Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World which is what I’m currently listening to, even if my longest commute is only 45 minutes.
I would recommend this book if you like strange, surrealist sort of science fiction novels or if you’re a Murakami fan who hasn’t read his earlier work. Also, if you like sheep (and maybe if you liked Scalzi’s Android’s Dream), you might like this as well. Superb fiction, I hope to read it again someday.