As long as I stared at the clock, at least the world remained in motion…. And as long as I knew the world was still in motion, I knew I existed.
It begins simply enough: A twenty-something advertising executive receives a postcard from a friend, and casually appropriates the image for an insurance company’s advertisement. What he doesn’t realize is that included in the pastoral scene is a mutant sheep with a star on its back, and in using this photo he has unwittingly captured the attention of a man in black who offers a menacing ultimatum: find the sheep or face dire consequences. Thus begins a surreal and elaborate quest that takes our hero from the urban haunts of Tokyo to the remote and snowy mountains of Northern Japan, where he confronts not only the mythological sheep, but the confines of tradition and the demons deep within himself.
Quirky and utterly captivating, A marvelous hybrid of mythology and mystery, A Wild Sheep Chase is the extraordinary literary thriller that launched Haruki Murakami’s international reputation. English translation was done by Alfred Birnbaum.
Humans by necessity must have a midway point between their desires and their pride. Just as all objects must have a center of gravity…. Only when it is gone do people realize it even existed.
About the Author
Haruki Murakami was born in Kyoto, Japan, in 1949. He grew up in Kobe and then moved to Tokyo, where he attended Waseda University. After college, Murakami opened a small jazz bar, which he and his wife ran for seven years.
His first novel, Hear the Wind Sing, won the Gunzou Literature Prize for budding writers in 1979. He followed this success with two sequels, Pinball, 1973 and A Wild Sheep Chase, which all together form “The Trilogy of the Rat.”
Murakami is also the author of the novels Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World; Norwegian Wood; Dance Dance Dance; South of the Border, West of the Sun; The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle; Sputnik Sweetheart; Kafka on the Shore; After Dark; 1Q84; and Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage. He has written three short story collections: The Elephant Vanishes; After the Quake; and Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman; and an illustrated novella, The Strange Library.
Additionally, Murakami has written several works of nonfiction. After the Hanshin earthquake and the Tokyo subway sarin gas attack in 1995, he interviewed surviving victims, as well as members of the religious cult responsible. From these interviews, he published two nonfiction books in Japan, which were selectively combined to form Underground. He also wrote a series of personal essays on running, entitled What I Talk About When I Talk About Running.
The most recent of his many international literary honors is the Jerusalem Prize. Murakami’s work has been translated into more than fifty languages.
Alfred Birnbaum is an American born in 1957, living in Myanmar when he is not traveling elsewhere. He has spend many years in Japan since childhood, and has been actively involved in the visual and performing arts there. He is also one of the leading translators of contemporary Japanese fiction, with three major novels by Haruki Murakami, and the award-winning A Burden of Flowers by Natsuki Izekawa, among his translations.
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