It’s one of the early works of Murakami, 1988 to be precise!
As always, what I like about the book need not be mentioned. It does have the Murakami favour! I have read books by him where it was quite strong but love the mildness of the flavour in Dance, Dance, Dance! Well, I am always biased when it comes to his work!
Its the Rat#4 book in the series, I wouldn’t say you need to read the rest of the books to understand it but reading ‘The Wild Sheep Chase’ before this one will make you wonder less about the Sheep Man!
What is it about? The protagonist, a writer, returns back to Dolphin Hotel after unsettling dreams about it! The hotel has changed, he is looking for someone but he meets a lot of uncanny characters there including the sheep man, a 13 year old girl and the hotel receptionist! All the characters are different yet connected in some way! Each of them bears some degree of oddity…the protagonist writes restaurant reviews and calls it ‘shovelling snow’, there’s a one armed poet (I just wonder why one armed??), a quirky teenager, the sheepman’s cryptic sentences!
There are heaps of unanswered questions as always.. I guess maximum for any Murakami novel! As a reader, I could not justify the title itself. Except for one reference by the Sheepman, dance was not very relevant to the novel or to the story line…maybe he was trying to say keep dancing or keep moving or did I miss something!!! Too many unjustified things… At one point of time, it just made me scream WHY so loud in my mind and the line between real and surreal was very blurry!!
A confused main character ..surrounded by lot of women…some uncanny, some absolutely beautiful…..the sheep man, disturbing dreams and forces trying to tell him something! Too many people dying and like I said, tons of whys! There is not much love in the book, but heaps of emotions! A delight to read!
“Unfortunately, the clock is ticking, the hours are going by. The past increases, the future recedes. Possibilities decreasing, regrets mounting.”
“As time goes on, you’ll understand. What lasts, lasts; what doesn’t, doesn’t. Time solves most things. And what time can’t solve, you have to solve yourself.”
“What we seek is some kind of compensation for what we put up with.”
“People fall in love without reason, without even wanting to. You can’t predict it. That’s love.”
“People leave traces of themselves where they feel most comfortable, most worthwhile.”
And this one like the sheepman says:
“Dance,” said the Sheep Man. “Yougottadance. Aslongasthemusicplays. Yougotta dance. Don’teventhinkwhy. Starttothink, yourfeetstop. Yourfeetstop, wegetstuck. Wegetstuck, you’restuck. Sodon’tpayanymind, nomatterhowdumb. Yougottakeepthestep. Yougottalimberup. Yougottaloosenwhatyoubolteddown. Yougottauseallyougot. Weknowyou’re tired, tiredandscared. Happenstoeveryone, okay? Justdon’tletyourfeetstop”