On My Wishlist (#4) March 3, 2012Posted by thehypermonkey in Book talk.
Tags: book talk, haruki murakami, japan, wish list
On My Wishlist is a fun weekly event hosted by Book Chick City and runs every Saturday. It’s where we list all the books we desperately want but haven’t actually bought yet. They can be old, new or forthcoming. It’s also an event that you can join in with too – Mr Linky is always at the ready for you to link your own ‘On My Wishlist’ post. If you want to know more click here
Haruki Murakami is fast becoming my favorite author and Wild Sheep Chase is his first novel published here in America. It’s a “mock-hard boiled mystery”. The story promises to be big on “dreams, hallucinations, and wild imagination.”
It begins simply enough: A twenty-something advertising executive receives a postcard from a friend, and casually appropriates the image for an insurance company’s advertisement. What he doesn’t realize is that included in the pastoral scene is a mutant sheep with a star on its back, and in using this photo he has unwittingly captured the attention of a man in black who offers a menacing ultimatum: find the sheep or face dire consequences. Thus begins a surreal and elaborate quest that takes our hero from the urban haunts of Tokyo to the remote and snowy mountains of northern Japan, where he confronts not only the mythological sheep, but the confines of tradition and the demons deep within himself.
In this impressive sequel to A Wild Sheep Chase , Murakami displays his talent to brilliant effect. The unnamed narrator, a muddled freelance writer, is 34 and no closer to finding happiness than he was in the previous book. Divorced, bereaved and abandoned by his various lovers, he is drawn to the Dolphin Hotel–a strange and lonely establishment where Kiki, a woman he once lived with, “upped and vanished.” Kiki and the Sheep Man, an odd fellow who wears a sheepskin and speaks in a toneless rush, visit the narrator in visions that lead him to two mysteries, one metaphysical (how to survive the unsurvivable) and the other physical (a call girl’s murder). In his searchings, he encounters a clairvoyant 13-year-old, her misguided parents and a one-armed poet. All the hallmarks of Murakami’s greatness are here: restless and sensitive characters, disturbing shifts into altered reality, silky smooth turns of phrase and a narrative with all the momentum of a roller coaster. If Mishima had ever learned the value of gentleness, this is the sort of page-turner he might have written.
It promises to be an enjoyable ride and I can’t wait to get them!
What books are you anxious to get on your shelves?