“A Wild Sheep Chase” by Haruki Murakami: a novel review

Alright! Okay! I missed something! What the hell! What. The. Hell!

What the f*** did I just waste a week of my life reading? Why couldn’t I stop? Why was I enthralled? What was lost in translation?

I loved “Norwegian Wood”. That one, five star. This?! “A Wild Sheep Chase”?

Less of a novel and more of a parable or a very long allegory. I didn’t get it. Super-weird, surrealistic overdose. Prepare for a timeless wandering where you can’t place the decade this was written in or confirm any character’s motivations. Aimless themes. Half of Murakami’s books are better than this. An incomprehensible tale of philosophy and self-actualization that only carries weight for the very curious and open-minded reader. Only they will take something away from it, and even then, everyone will argue about what it “really meant.”

Skip it, skip it, skip it.

I felt like I was stuck in a dream but couldn’t wake up. I’ve never so willingly subjected myself to crazy sh*t before. Something kept me reading, likely the philosophy and the mood/environment descriptions taking on characterizations all their own, but that’s where the praise stops. It stops HARD.

Read if you like subtle symbolism, Japanese history, alcohol, cigarettes, more cigarettes, descriptions of cooking and eating food nearly every chapter, non-sense dialogue, and a lazy, unmotivated protagonists who rarely exhibits the proper emotion: rage, confusion, or doubt given the irrational and insane things occuring in the world around him.

No amount, I mean no amount of spirituality or literary beauty can save this one. It’s full of set-ups that barely paint the character and we never see pay-offs later in the plot. There are loose ends with characters. This was barely fun to read and is frustrating as all hell. But, again, something kept me reading. I guess it was a morbid facination with the fantasy elements of this shitshow, but I guess I also just wanted to read the whole thing so I could properly critique it and tear it apart and back up my claims.

How this book can be given above a 3.5 staggers me, and all the 5 reviewers are literary elitist that want to be in some sort of “I get it” club, like since I don’t appriciate his crazy sh*t, I’m uncultured or incapable of higher thought. No matter the language this novel is in, no matter who describes their opinions and interpretations to me, I will never change my star rating for this book. It’s a book that depends entirely on the readers interpretations. Only certain things are “fact” in this brain-pounding novel, and besides the ideas or reinvention of one’s self, people can make up any reasonings and answers for this creative writing experiment and support whatever arguments they want. You cannot be right, you cannot be wrong. You can only be mind-fu*ked.

Nothing feels present day Japan or America culturally, and nothing feels like past decades of Japanese or American cultures. It’s “timeless” and odd in its own way, if those are even the right words.

You can not compare the two, but Norwegian Wood by Murakami runs literary, thematic, and emotionally-statisfying circles around “A Wild Sheep Chase.” I need a brandy like the Sheep Man.

I could not recommend this book to anybody, ever. It was “okay” only: a two star. I gave it and extra 1/2 star for rediculous originality mashing reality with bat-sh*t crazy fantasy.

Fu*k this book.




Filed under Book Reviews

2 responses to ““A Wild Sheep Chase” by Haruki Murakami: a novel review

  1. A Little Blog of Books and Other Stuff

    I found this to be the least readable of Murakami’s work – nothing else he’s written is quite this weird!

    • that’s good to know, because I think he’s a powerful writer, but this one was a stinking challenge to get through. I am eagerly aniticipating Wind-Up Bird and Kafka on the Shore next. ttys.

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