A marvelous hybrid of mythology and mystery, A Wild Sheep Chase is the extraordinary literary thriller that launched Haruki Murakami's international reputation.
It begins simply enough: A 20-something advertising executive receives a postcard from a friend, and casually appropriates the image for an insurance company's advertisement. What he doesn't realize is that included in the pastoral scene is a mutant sheep with a star on its back, and in using this photo he has unwittingly captured the attention of a man in black who offers a menacing ultimatum: Find the sheep or face dire consequences. Thus begins a surreal and elaborate quest that takes our hero from the urban haunts of Tokyo to the remote and snowy mountains of northern Japan, where he confronts not only the mythological sheep, but the confines of tradition and the demons deep within himself. Quirky and utterly captivating, A Wild Sheep Chase is Murakami at his astounding best.
©1982 Haruki Murakami (P)2013 Random House Audio
"Murakami is a mythmaker for the millennium, a wiseacre wiseman." (New York Times Book Review)
"Marvelously engaging, at turns witty, dry, wicked, even loopy. Reading A Wild Sheep Chase is like spending a splendidly foul weekend with the Four Raymonds - Chandler, Carver, Massey, and Queneau." (Frederick Barthelme)
Murakami is always perfect, I think. At least, I really, really like everything I've ever read by Haruki Murakami.
What make this book a little more special was the wonderful narration job by Rupert Degas. His narration is a lot Frank Muller and David Lynch combined, voice quality, like.
His different voices are perfect. He doesn't try to add in a Japanese flavor, but rather takes the Japanese settings and locales and interprets the accents to how they might seem if this novel were taking place in America.
Like when the narrator of the book goes back to his hometown, the different people in the town have a more country-esque flair to their voices.
Too, the way Rupert Degas says the word, "sheep," and the different variations of sheep in this novel is perfect. He buys into this 100 percent and allows us, the readers, to buy in 100 percent, too.
His French accents are incredible, also. When the narrator and his girlfriend are dining in the French restaurant in Tokyo, the dude really does a wonderful job with the menu items.
And the story is wonderful. If you've never read anything by Haruki Murakami, this is as good as any place to start, I guess.
If you have read Murakami before, this is definitely a Haruki Murakami novel.
It's 100 percent wonderful and definitely worth buying and reading and listening too.
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I downloaded this onto my iPhone from Audible.com for my motorcycle ride from DC to Charleston. First, the length was perfect. Secondly, it is an amazing exploration of magic realism. With Murakami, you never truly know the difference between what is real and what is paranormal. The story is seamless, it's timeless, and while not life-changing in the same way as Wind Up Bird Chronicle, it reminds me of it and made me happy in the same way. Very fulfilling and enjoyable and I am sure I will read it again.
I had I real expectations for this book, but was delighted by the way it was written. I'll likely read it again in hard copy as I think there's more to thereof than what I can extract from one audio sitting.
The narrator was good, and I really loved his performance of the narrating protagonist voice. His dead pan manner left me laughing more than once. Some of the depictions of other characters was a bit cartoonish at times, but not enough to take away from the story too much.
Murakami great as always, but the narrator was subpar. Some of the voices used for various characters were bizarre, ill-fitting and distracting...felt like he had an inventory of voices and was intent on using those particular voices regardless of appropriateness. This one may be one to read rather than listen to.
This is my favorite Murakami novel so far, with a sense of humor that can be lacking in the later novels. Worth the credit for an interesting journey.
This book is hard to listen to. I love audio books but the voices in this narration were distracting and I think it should have been read by an someone with an Asian accent. The story itself was long in the telling and, quite frankly, not very interesting.
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This is definitely Murakami!
Although this was an early one for him, I listened to this after reading many of his later works. This one follows the pattern--or perhaps created the pattern--of his books. I really enjoyed the story and it made me think like his works typically do, but I didn't enjoy it as much as some of his others (my favorites are Hard Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World, Kafka on the Shore, 1Q84).
The author's voice was appropriately flat, and most of the accents for different characters were very good. Even the voices that weren't great were identifiable different and unique to that character. A problem I have often with narration was also present here--men narrating tend to make women's voices all sound the same (and like a man speaking in a high voice). Not an easy thing to solve, I guess...
A beautiful, and somewhat surreal book, in good Murakami tradition. In a way, it's a cautionary tale on the need to appreciate the life that you have, and the loneliness that comes from mindless pursuit of happiness in other places.
Degas reading is pure bliss...
Great for weekend afternoons when the weather is freezing cold.
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Reading this book is like being inside of someone's strange dream. The book started off a bit slow for me, but then I got into it - it's just totally bizarre and you have to go with the flow. It's a book about Japan, but I was surprised at how Western the characters and references seemed.
The narration wasn't right for me. The narrator is very talented and had facility with many accents and with creating different characters. I think it was a valiant effort to relay what was in the book, but my personal preference would have been something more straightforward. I'm not sure everyone would feel this way and this was a talented guy, so I don't want to knock him. I think it was just a different production opinion.
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