This book has by far got to be my favorite Haruki Murakami book. It was simple and easy to read. I liked it. I can summarize the whole story in a sentence. It goes like this: “It’s is about a man, the narrator, who was sent on a wild goose chase for a sheep.” The plot was very straight forward until you get to the part about the sheep. Mr. Murakami sure knows how to make us use our imaginations!
This quasi-detective tale follows an unnamed, chain-smoking narrator and his adventures in Tokyo and Hokkaido in 1978. The story begins when the recently divorced protagonist, an advertisement executive, publishes a photo of a pastoral scene sent to him in a confessional letter by his long lost friend, ‘The Rat.’ He is contacted by a mysterious man representing ‘The Boss,’ a central force behind Japan’s political and economic elite who is now slowly dying. The Boss’ secretary tells him that a strange sheep with a star shaped birthmark, pictured in the advertisement, was in some way the secret source of the Boss’ power and that he has two months to find that sheep or his career and life will be ruined. The narrator and his girlfriend, who possesses magically seductive and supernaturally perceptive ears, travel to the north of Japan to find that sheep and his vagabond friend. As he discovers that he is chasing an unknowable power that has been exerting its influence for decades, he encounters figures from his own past, unusual characters, and those who have encountered the sheep before. –Wikipedia
It’s just that. A story about a man who was asked to find a special sheep. However, being the critical and analytical person that I am trying to be, we can discuss this book a bit further. I like this book for a number of reasons.
#1 It was easy to understand
The author didn’t focus or use too much of Japanese culture/style in it. It was easy to connect to the characters because I didn’t have to research or try to understand Japanese culture in general. There was just this man who goes through the same problems as us and acts just like us.
#2 There’s always another side to the story
At first all you see (even in the beginning of my review) is this man who is sent on a wild chase but if you look closer, you’ll see a deeper and complex ideas being thrown around by the author using only the story itself. For example, the main character just went through a divorce but instead of having to go through his emotions and deal with it, he found a new girlfriend who he uses just for casual sex. Doesn’t that make you think about how we humans deal with emotions?
#3 It’s downright intriguing
I can’t for the life of me understand why the sheep was such a pivotal character in this story. It was only after reading it that I have understood it’s character.
#4 It’s a great beginner book
You know that feeling when you’re trying to find a new author and you’re looking for some of his books that you might like? I hope you understood that, lol. I would definitely recommend this book to you to gauge if you’d like books from Haruki Murakami. This one is definitely on of his easier reads but the classic Murakami is still evident in all the pages.
Overall, I can’t say much about this book. It’s a nice read and a great sort of introduction to Murakami novels/books. For the more advanced readers, I’d probably ask you to skip it if you’re looking for a deeper book but if like me you like comfort reads, this one should be on your TO-READ list.