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Publisher's Summary

A Wild Sheep Chase is one of Murakami's most fantastical novels. An advertising executive, infatuated with a girl who possesses the most perfect ears (an erotic charge for him) uses a picture of a sheep with a star on its back. This catapults him into a weird adventure to find the mythical sheep up in the wilds of Hokkaido, Japan's northern island. There are strange encounters, a hotel with an extra disappearing floor, and other oddities.

A Wild Sheep Chase is an early Murakami work, but its remarkable and individual voice makes it one of the most thrilling of his books. Superbly read by Rupert Degas with an edge of Raymond Chandler.

©2002 Haruki Murakami (P)2006 Naxos AudioBooks

Critic Reviews

"With the help of a fluid, slangy translation, Murakami emerges as a wholly original talent." (Publishers Weekly)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings


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  • Overall
  • Louise
  • 12-15-06

Counseling Needed

I fear severe withdrawl now that I only have one more book to delve into. Haruki Murakami has to be the most imaginative writer I have ever come across. His material profoundly provocative. And funny is very laugh out loud hilarious.
Normally I never revisit a book, but I have already begun with Wind Up Bird and this one will be no exception. These novels are written in minute detail though not overly wordy. Hopefully he has others coming down the pike. If you have not yet listened to any of these novels trust me you will be in for a royal treat. A Wild Sheep Chase is another masterpiece. Only thing for me is that Haruki is highly addictive.

11 of 11 people found this review helpful

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  • Ashley
  • Canberra, Australia
  • 05-30-07

Great read from Degas

Murakami seems to divide critics somewhat but for me this is a great novel. I've read it a number of times, and got the audiobook mostly because I wanted to hear Rupert Degas reading it. I recognised his voice from the Raymond Chandler series and thought that his noir style read would really suit Murakami. And it did, in spades. A brilliant listen

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

A Good Listen

Our hero is led to look for a sheep.

An Haruki Murakami 'detective story'.

I enjoyed Rupert Degas portrayal.

As I have not read this book before, I have had no internal voice to compare with Rupert Degas' voice. For me the Haruki Murakami story is well presented with Rupert Degas reading.

In excellent listen.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Marta
  • Maçussa, Portugal
  • 07-24-12

Read this before 'Dance Dance Dance'

What did you love best about A Wild Sheep Chase?

I have by now read (more heard) many of Murakamis' books and am a big fan. However I would have loved that somewhere it had been mentioned that this book precedes 'Dance, Dance, Dance' - I heard it before and was a bit at a loss in the story. Definetely listen to this one before!

Who was your favorite character and why?

There is basically one main character, so you can't escape him...

What about Rupert Degas’s performance did you like?

Having started with 1Q84 I understand the comments about R. Degas being 'too american' for these tales, but I have come to apreciate his voice because I think he understands the charachters and flows very very much with the stories. 1Q84 is a special issue indeed, but these are fine readings!!

If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

Evil comes in all shapes

Any additional comments?

I started with the last of Murakami's books, 1Q84, and now I really apreciate the path he's done to get there, it's a fabulous book, really really beautiful. But I enjoy these earlier stories as well, they are more 'crude' and you can see many of the topic he revisits in different ways later on.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Fantastic, pity about the accents.

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Great story. Classic Murakami. Very well read. My only gripe is the accent of the reader. I know your main market is the US, but couldn't you have got someone with even a slight Japanese accent? It was very hard to visualise the characters as Japanese when everyone had a variety of US accents. Still worth purchasing though.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

I just didn't get it

I've heard this narrator, Degas, before and am usually impressed, but here, he stumbles in his characterizations. To appreciate this book, you must be a Murakami fan or you won't get it either.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Mark
  • Hamden, CT, USA
  • 03-15-07

Reader Gets In the Way

I've read every English translation of Murakami's books, including A Wild Sheep Chase. I slogged through this Audible Book and cannot recommend it.

The reader uses Western voices that are just wrong. A previous reviewer mentioned a James Mason imitation. Let me add a Dustin Hoffman "Tootsie" imitation. Japanese women sound like a bad Blanche DuBois? Aargh.

Listen to NPR's "Selected Shorts" to hear what Murakami should sound like. I was astounded by how closely that reader matched the voice in my head when I read that short story.

6 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Hannes
  • cupertino, CA, United States
  • 03-08-07

sublime to the ridiculous

On the heels of what was in the balance a very worthwhile listen...Kafka on the Shore expertly narrated, I tried A Wild Sheep Chase, and lasted to the bitter end just so I could pan it. The book meanders aimlessly via affected dialogue, quirky but otherwise shallow characters, with a story line from Hell, and basically leads up to one of the most pathetically unimaginative endings I can imagine. Unfortunately the narration made it just that much worse. Degas's baseline nasal drawl is bad enough but when he attempts character portrayal it is almost unbearable...from the pseudo-James Mason of one character to a cheesy Brooklyn (?) accent of The Rat, and when the end of this book was within sight, he comes up with an absurd peppery/staccato manner of speech for The SheepMan, who as a character is just part of the downward slide in this book. Was I just lucky with Kafka on the Shore, or is A Wild Sheep Chase more typical of Murakami?

6 of 11 people found this review helpful

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  • Ash
  • AR, United States
  • 04-19-16

Mind Blown

Murakami woes like no one else, weaves a genre like nothing you've experienced, and then leaves you with vertigo and a craving for more.

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  • Tim
  • United States
  • 01-31-13

Crisscross Lines Storyteller

For some reason, Haruki Murakami's novels just attracts my taste. I think his style of writing is very smooth and very odd, but oh so good. "A Wild Sheep Chase" is another bizarre screw up triangle, where the lines are all jagged and crisscross and no ruler can straighten out the author's thoughts.

This is what I like from his books. You never know what is next and how morbid he can really be. Haruki Murakami's stories is not terrifying to listen to. It won't keep you up at nights, being scared of the dark, but in all of his novels, you will be questioning yourself on what you are listening to and then half way through it, they all come together and its a never ending whirlpool of talking animals and impure thoughts. Alice is always falling deeper and deeper in the hole and there is no Wonderland in his world.

I almost skipped on this one because I am really looking forward to Dance, Dance, Dance, but I heard from others that you really need to read A Wild Sheep Chase first in order to understand the later title.

I just wished that there was more on about his girlfriend's ears. I just felt that there was something missing from this one from Murakami. Maybe lack of lust, but it was still good. I can't wait to read Dance, Dance, Dance.

Talking rat and the Sheepman is why I like this author so much. Somehow, it all makes sense.

This just came to me. Maybe his girlfriend was really the rat because of her ears?

I don't know of any other authors that always leaves you questioning on what you just read.

Oh So Good!

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  • Christine
  • 05-30-11

A Wild Sheep Chase

I have only just discovered Murakami and I loved this book. I spent the whole time not quite sure what the plot was but I could not leave it alone until it brought me to the excellent ending. Listening to it was an added bonus as the narrative was excellent. I cannot wait to get it to my next Murakami and definitely through Audible again.To anyone who likes something different, something that leaves you thinking at the end, I would recommend this book highly.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • Sara
  • 09-23-09

Strangely compelling book

A journalist is commissioned to find a magic sheep.

The sheep has a red star on its flank.

The sheep possesses people and uses them in it's bid to rule the world.

The man is accompanied by his girlfriend who has perfectly erotic ears.

Classic Murakami.





10 of 11 people found this review helpful

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  • Isabelle
  • 04-13-13

Superb and surreal

I've loved all the Haruki Murakami books that I've listened to so far. Rupert Degas does a great job narrating, using only the accents and voices needed. A wild sheep chase and the follow-up Dance, Dance, Dance tell the story of a very likeable journalist and the strange adventures he has. It is a strange book (like all Murakami books) but very enjoyable and captivating.

I would recommend listening to this book and the follow-up in the right order, though this is not essential as each stands up on its own.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Antti
  • 10-17-15

Unhinged Metaphysics

I really like Murakami. He seems to think of stories how, say, Thomas Pynchon does: they're a bit like jazz that swerves unexpectedly, plays with different moods and often ends because, well, things have to end sometime (or not - just as Mr Joyce for further instructions). To be blunt, it's more often than not in the journey itself, not the destination. Or we’ve already been to the destination and now just take a freewheeling stroll around the block, or in the nearby woods.

Yet every Murakami I’ve come across has the kind of crescendo baked inside it that makes it seem like there is a huge climax at the end of the steps. Yet the word "climax" also has a Murakamian sense, and this is the most difficult aspect I've yet to learn while reading his books. Almost none of his works have had a satisfying resolution in proportion to my mounting expectations, two books notwithstanding. "Kafka on the Shore" is the first one I encountered, this is the second.

Everything seems to fall into place in relation to my towering expectations. It’s mouthwatering stuff, with that trademark unhinged metaphysics Murakami employs masterfully. And there’s always a bittersweet taste to it in Murakami’s writing, as if we had just glimpsed the might-have-been, knowing it would fade away as quickly as our comprehension of what we’d witnessed. Or, as that already mentioned master of English words has written, ”if you should happen upon it, your strongest certainty is not that you have discovered it but returned to it. In a single great episode of light, you remember everything.”

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • TerrorNola
  • 05-19-17

Fantastic escape

A brilliant story, excellently performed by Rupert Degas. A must for any Haruki Murakami fans.

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  • 06-12-16

One of his weaker offerings. Wouldn't recommend it

Storyline was so stupid, I thought this has to be good. However, I was very disappointed as it faded badly as it progressed.

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  • Roger Hopewell
  • 04-28-16


But not nearly as weird as the hard boiled wonderland. I liked it and the performance (though struggling slightly with men doing female parts)

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  • Anonymous User
  • 01-06-18

Great but with my voice

If you’re reading ‘A Wild Sheep Chase’ then I guess you’re already invested, like I am. Murakami delivers another great story in the series and again leaves me with a melancholy satisfaction.

Whilst listening to the book, I began to see where some idea of 1Q84 had began to grow from and that added an extra bit of joy to my experience. His way of storytelling and characters are so interesting, it’ll keep you reading from chapter to chapter.

I only really have one negative about this audiobook. I read the previous two in the series “Hear the Wind Sing and Pinball” as the omnibus Wind/Pinball. I loved the narrator of that omnibus and I grew to picture each character in a certain way. However, this narrator completely ruined it. I pictured Rat as the guy sitting alone in a bar drinking beer kind of like your typical noir gumshoe type of cop. Cool, smart, has that stare. But with this narrator, he made him out to be like Gilbert Godfrey!? It was disgusting. Then there’s the Sheep Man. Incomprehensible and annoying. It totally ripped me out of the book. In some parts, it’s as if the characters suddenly became American. It’s as if he forgot where the book took place.
However, I bared through the book because it was such a great novel.

If you can put up with the narrator, I highly recommend this book.

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  • M. O'Brien
  • 08-23-17

A challenging style

This wasn't a book I'd normally listen to but it was recommended to me by a colleague. I found it very descriptive & fanciful. I was challenged by it so in that respect I enjoyed it but probably won't pick up any of Murakami's books.

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  • Melinda - YarnderWoman
  • 07-26-17

Always a pleasure

Murakami is a world-class writer and this book does not disappoint. Elements of the bizarre mixed with out-there characters, this book is a joy from start to finish.