A Wild Sheep Chase
Once you are through with “A Wild Sheep Chase”, you could wonder why Murakami bothered to give this novel a name. No character in this story is referred by a proper noun. Well almost no one, except an uncurious cat who finally gets one.
“I”, a divorced twenty-nine year old lives a humdrum life; writing brochures & pamphlets; wandering about the seedy bars of Tokyo. One day, he receives a letter from his vagabond friend, the “Rat” along with an apparently ordinary photograph of a herd of grazing sheep somewhere in Japan. “I” decides to use this picture in one of his articles in a newsletter. Here enters a henchman of the “Boss” – a commanding underground leader whose empire almost controls the entire economy of Japan – who seems to have a very mysterious motive in tracking down one particular sheep in the picture. “I” is forced to go on a trail in pursuit of this extraordinary sheep. During the course of this surreal journey, he meets a call girl-cum-ear model with celestially beautiful ears and extra-sensory powers, a nutty sheep professor with a perplexing past, and an idiosyncratic sheep man whotalkslikethisforsomereason.
Like most of Murakami’s works, “A Wild Sheep Chase” is an eclectic medley of comedy, mystery, fantasy, mythology and philosophy. It is also an essay on the post-war Japan’s pop-culture. And lastly, it leaves you with more questions than answers.
Read it. At the end of it, you may just be crafting your own theories on ‘the sheep’.