The Dog Doesn’t Die

Book reviews & random thoughts

Does the Dog Die? A Brief Review of A Wild Sheep Chase, by Haruki Murakami

Surrealism usually doesn’t do much for me, and it took a while before I got into this book. But I’m glad I stuck with it, because it’s extremely funny in spots. It’s also hard to describe, but I’ll give it a shot.

An unnamed 20-something Japanese advertising executive inadvertently uses an image of a sheep that has great meaning to some sinister entities. As a result, he’s got to find that sheep! And sheep tend to look alike, although there are a few breed distinctions. (Actually, there are more than a few — check this comprehensive list, complete with pictures, from our helpful friends at Oklahoma State University.) But really, finding a single sheep? Not simple.

So Ad Exec frets about this for a while, at which point his helpful girlfriend gets involved and they take a leisurely approach, even though they only have 30 days total before the dire consequences occur. And weird things happen, and there’s symbolism and self-discovery and growth, blah-de-blah-de-blah. I think this is a good book, but I’m not one to make a sales pitch for surreal literature. Amazon has 113 reviews, 92 of which are 4 star or better. I’ll defer to my fellow readers there. Yeah, I know, I’m supposedly doing book reviews. Some are easier than others, and I don’t get paid to do the hard ones, so I’m punting this time.

As for animals, Ad Exec has a cat for whom he makes arrangements before taking off on his quest, so he’s fine. The cat even has a couple of funny bits. An elderly border collie shows up, to no real effect. And the sheep mill around and act like sheep. Of course they have more complex personalities than most of us realize, but a lot of animals are like that — ciphers until we get to know them. Anyway, this book is entirely SAFE for animal lovers.

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June 13, 2009 - Posted by | animals, Book Reviews, humor | , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. Murakami is one of my favorite authors! For me, his style leans more towards magical realism, which I adore. I read A Wild Sheep Chase beachside while in Cozumel. Loved it. Not as much as Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, perhaps, but wonderful nonetheless. Miss chatting to you about books. We must get together soon!

    Comment by Amy | June 13, 2009 | Reply


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