A Wild Sheep Chase
Japanese title: Hitsuji o meguru boken
It's a perfect name to this surrealistic detective story, written by Haruki Murakami, one of the most popular writers of contemporary Japanese fiction. His books are often mysterious, utterly fascinating stories about strange events. A cow wanting a pliers is a daily life in Murakami's works.
He can capture the very moment in hand, in a way that reminds about Banana Yoshimoto somehow. Nostalgia is often seen in his works, and the beginning of A Wild Sheep Chase doesn't make an exeption to this.
"A slip! She could have at least left a slip! .. I doused the ashtray, thought more about her slip, then gave up and hit the sack."
The story gets really going when a picture of one particular sheep is published, and strange events follow. The company where narrator works is then instructed to seize all further publications. Narrator then embarks to strange journey to finds this particular sheep. A sheep with star on it's back and irrestible clear eyes; no question a sheep with strange aura. A Wild Sheep Chase leads to mountains of Hokkaido and discovers the agriculture of Japan; which itself is a unique context for Japanese detective story. But Murakami goes down right to the bottom of it and the characters of his are wrapping the reader to their wonderful spirit.
Murakami doesn't forget his strange humour in this work. Though this novel has sometimes strange and sad feeling, at the same time, it's hilarious.
But Haruki Murakami's books are never superficial and either is this one. They remind a little abit Sydney Pollack movies, but they are more surrealistic and interesting, like a deep echo of human's psyche. Murakami captures the moment and finds the glamour of surrounding sounds and visions.
One of the most interesting thing in Murakami's books is his way to repeat certain subjectives. It makes them memoriable, and creates somewhat funny dialogue. Like in the following extract from "The Whale's Penis and Woman with Three Occupations":
"Blocked ears are dead ears, I killed my own ears. That is, I consciously cut off the passageway... Do you follow me?"
No I didn't follow her.
"Ask me, then, "she said.
"By killing your own ears, do you mean you made yourself deaf?"
"No, I can hear quite fine. But even so, my ears are dead. You can probably do it too."
She set her soupspoon back down, straightened her back, raised her shoulders two inches, trust her jaw full out, hed that posture for all of ten seconds, and suddenly dropped her shoulders.
"There. My ears are all dead. Now you try."
Three times I repeated the movements she'd made. Slowly, carefully, but nothing left me with the impresison that my ears had died. The wine was rapidly circulating through my system.
"I do believe that my eyes aren't dying properly, " I said, disappointed.
She shook her head. "That's okay. If your ears don't need to die, there's nothing wrong with them not dying."
The way "dead ears" is repeated midst the sentences is what I mean. It's like an explanation. Since nobody heard before about "ears dying", it's needed to handle the topic by using different views. Murakami makes outmost strange things seem daily, nothing really to speak off.. Yeah, just like that.
Another thing is Murakami's characters sincerity and somewhat real interest to the topic in hand; they are real upright figures who never seem to cut the atmosphere by doubt or by fearing that they are laughed at. They are never vain either. Instead they are naive in certain ways, ways that reminds you of children who believes all what it's told to her. Like in sentence: "I do believe that my ears aren't dying properly" , the narrator went right into the topic about finding knowledge about dying ears, with his earnest interest.
I think this sincerity is something we can learn from his works. Maybe it's the hidden message in his works.
Books | The Name of the Flower, Twinle Twinkle, Underground, Hardboiled / Hard Luck, Tokyo - a Certain Style, A Japanese Miscellany, Botchan, In the Miso Soup, The Mother of Dreams, Kafka on the Shore, The Wonderful World of Sazae-san, Memoirs of Geisha, Remembering 1945 - Goka O Mita, Wild Sheep Chase, Healing Family, Making Out in Japanese, Yukiguni