Murakami's third novel, published in Japan in 1982, was the first to be translated into English in 1989. The nameless narrator, an ordinary fellow who runs a small advertising firm, suddenly runs into trouble with a powerful criminal element which takes an inordinate amount of interest in an undistinguished photo of a moutain pasture scene with sheep which a friend sent him and he used in an ad. The representative of the Big Boss sends him to cold, mountainous Hokkaido to look for a mysterious sheep with a star on its back that is just visible in the photo. His girlfriend with the perfect ears tags along. The tone is humorously dry, like a detective novel, but there are elements of magic realism mixed in. An oddly engaging story.
This report prepared by David Loftus
The unnamed narrator leads an ordinary life until one day he tries to publish a pamphlet with a picture of sheep back dropped by mountains. However amongst the sheep is a sheep with a star on its back. He is forced to drop his life under threat and go in search of this sheep by the right hand man of a powerful right-wing Boss who controls the media, advertising etc. So begins the mysterious wild sheep chase. Accompanying him is his new girlfriend, a girl with such exquisite ears that looking at them makes sex a thousand times better. Their only clue is Rat the narrator's run-away friend who sent him the photo in the first place. The girl's sixth sense leads them to encounter an ovine obsessed professor who directs them to where the mountains in the picture are. They travel to the mountains where he encounters a bizarre man in a sheep outfit and a ghost who drinks beer. A fantastic tale of an ordinary man who is inadvertently caught up in the tale of the sheep with a star on his back which takes over men in order to subsume them for its own power hungry ways. Murakami's third novel published in English in 2000 is a joyful journey from this very fine novelist.
This report prepared by John Marcel