Sunday, 10 May 2009

Book Review: A Wild Sheep Chase

A wild Sheep Chase is a novel written by Haruki Murakami and was published way back in 1982 by Harvill Press. I’ve been meaning to read a Murakami for some time now. His reputation is the stuff of legend – everyone who has ever read one tells me how amazing his writing is. Of course, this means that my expectations were very high and I’m happy to report that I was not disappointed. My main difficulty in writing this review has been trying to make sure I do justice to a book with that revolves around “A mission to find a sheep with a star on its back; not a lost sheep but a sheep with a will of its own.”

I have never known an author to go so seamlessly from ‘serious’ to ‘surreal’ and back again and make it seem so utterly normal. Murakami’s power over language is nothing short of amazing. Murakami said that A Wild Sheep Chase was "The first book where I could feel a kind of sensation, the joy of telling a story.” That sensation and joy he felt in writing the book translates well through to a reader pouring through its pages. A Wild Sheep Chase feels like a deep, meaningful work full of beautifully scripted metaphors that cover the religious, moral, political and of course the personal. It is very much about an ordinary man, mediocre in every sense of the word, sent on an extraordinary (and very surreal) quest to find a very special sheep.

On completing the book I felt I had been a part of something special – something profound but, I can’t tell you quite what the story means. I’ve asked the people who recommended the book and they all, without exception, looked at me with a slight blank expression. Words it seemed, escaped them. So, I’m left with a book which left me satisfied, that made me think hard about a variety of things in my own life, that I thoroughly enjoyed and felt a connection to and yet, I can’t quite tell you why. The words are so lyrical, so beautiful and so utterly satisfying it almost doesn’t matter. Go and read it. If you can work it out, drop me an email!

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