What if someone gives you a photo having 35 sheep, one of them has a star on it’s back and you are asked to find the sheep!! No other clue provided and one month to do this! Sounds crazy and bizzare , right? This is the chase you do with the narrator in Haruki Murakami’s The Wild Sheep Chase!
I would not read something like this if Murakami was not the author. It’s just sheer magic and aura of his writing that makes unbelievable believable! The strangest things appear in the book:
A woman who hides her ears and the narrator is fascinated by them…narrator seeing whale penises in dreams….Sheep which can enter humans…a sheep-man…..a friend nick named Rat!
I have read quite a lot of his work, but by far this one was the most creepy and intriguing. None of the characters have been named in the book. So you can relate yourself or someone else with any of them! The writing is so beautiful, whether it is describing the mountains or mundane daily stuff! It’s astonishing to realise how vivid a picture an author can paint in front of your eyes. The things which I would generally skip in books (like description of snow or smoke from cigarettes) were the things I re-read in this book! It’s full of metaphors and implicit deeper meaning to things! You get that surreal feeling throughout while reading it! Now that I have read this book, I can’t look at any sheep like I used to before!
The narrator goes to find this sheep and meets weird people, stays at a lonely secluded mountain, meets a sheep-man and then the Rat. Possessed once by the sheep, they are all different people now. There are some (intentional?? )loose ends and unanswered questions as always. Won’t write much about the plot, but it has enough to keep you gripped. The conversations are written so beautifully. Finding the sheep is an allegory for finding the true meaning of life! It touches topics like changes in Japan after the war and impact of Westernization in our lives!
It’s actually third in the ‘Rat’ series but can be read as a stand-alone book (like I did!). This is a book, which you can discard as crap or gain so much from it, depending on your perception! And one of those which I will surely read again after few years.
With a beautiful prose, writer like Murakami and all the surrealism it brings to a reader, it makes for a wonderful read!
“The light of morning decomposes everything.”
“Body cells replace themselves every month. Even at this very moment. Most everything you think you know about me is nothing more than memories.”
“Some things are forgotten, some things disappear, some things die.”
“Whenever I meet people for the first time, I get them to talk for ten minutes. Then I size them up from the exact opposite perspective of all they’ve told me. Do you think that’s crazy?
“No,” I said, shaking my head, “I’d guess your method works quite well.”
“My biggest fault is that the faults I was born with grow bigger each year.”
“A friend to kill time is a friend sublime.”
“Mountains, according to the angle of view, the season, the time of day, the beholder’s frame of mind, or any one thing, can effectively change their appearance. Thus, it is essential to recognize that we can never know more than one side, one small aspect of a mountain.”
“There’s that kind of money in the world. It aggravates you to have it, makes you miserable to spend it, and you hate yourself when it’s gone. And when you hate yourself, you feel like spending money. Except there’s no money left. And no hope.”
“Whether you take a doughnut hole as blank space or as an entity unto itself is a purely metaphysical question and does not affect the taste of the doughnut one bit.”