I just finished “A Wild Sheep Chase” by Haruki Murakami. As always, it was a wild ride. In this case, a wild sheep chase.
I love the way Murakami writes. This is the third book of his that I’ve enjoyed. I previously read “Kafka on the Shore” and the “Wind Up Bird Chronicles”. When I read, I tend to be a speed reader. I rush through books, excited by the plot, needing to know what happens next. It isn’t like that with Murakami. It isn’t that I’m not excited by the books, I am, but there is something about the way that he writes that makes you slow down. When you read his books, you are in his world. It is a magical world. A slow moving, ponderous world that you have to slowly take in.
“The parlor set was about as run-down as the hotel itself. The sofa was an unappealing orange, the sort of orange you’d get by leaving a choicely sunburnt weaving out in the rain for a week, then throwing it into the cellar until it mildewed. This was an orange from the early days of Technicolor.”
“The house kept its own time, like the old-fashioned father clock in the living room. People who happened by raised the weights, and as long as the weights were wound, the clock continued ticking away. But with people gone and the weights unattended, whole chunks of time were left to collect in deposits of faded life on the floor.”
This book follows the story of a young advertising man. He is a little lost in his life. An old friend sends him a photograph of a pastoral scene of mountains, fields, and sheep. The friend says that he should use it in an ad sometime if the occasion comes up. The lead man eventually publishes the photograph, nearly forgetting about its origins. That is, until a mysterious businessman takes a key interest in the photograph. We are then sent off on a wild chase through Japan, searching for one particular, magical sheep that was captured in that photograph. The stakes are high and the road to the answers is winding.
This was a fun and fairly straightforward read. It had Murakami’s signature myth and magic, but where his books often have many characters and stories to follow, this one was more simplistic. A mysterious tale of a single man’s journey to find something beyond normal comprehension. Take this journey with Murakami. It is a great ride.