I’m starting to see how people get hooked on Murakami. I picked ‘After Dark‘ for my first foray into his oeuvre because it was the shortest book in the library. This being Murakami, after finishing I immediately had to run back and get the second shortest off the shelf!
If ‘After Dark’ was like a beautifully focussed black and white photograph, ‘Wild Sheep Chase’ is a psychedelic print. The images are surreal and the scope utterly baffling. I’d decided to give myself time to reflect before writing about it, but it’s becoming apparent that time isn’t going to help; it’s just not that kind of a book.
All of the above is, of course, high praise. An advantage of the surreal psychedelic palate is that it doesn’t seem to matter that I can’t say I ‘got’ this book, instead I was able to luxuriate in its oddness. As the title suggests, this is an insomniac whirlwind of a book, full of coincidences, clues and a reality which is either too true to be believed, or too vague to be discerned.
The novel ostensibly follows the search for a unique sheep that appears in a photograph depicting a peaceful mountain view. On the one hand therefore, this is a detective story, on the other, it’s a descent (or ascent) into a strange wonderland of larger-than-life characters. The narrator notes that ‘There are symbolic dreams – dreams that symbolise some reality. Then there are symbolic realities – realities that symbolise a dream‘. This novel is both and, while I’m pretty sure I didn’t understand it, I’m confident in saying that I enjoyed it, and I look forward to seeing where my Murakami journey of discovery will take me next.