Friday, April 27, 2007

I expect full immersion into dream with Murakami.

Finished Wild Sheep Chase late last night.

Hmm, what to say about this? I waver between thinking I liked it more than some of them and thinking I liked it less. I'm not really sure.

Okay, the thing is, this novel, I think was one of his first. And it makes a lot more sense than his later novels, or at least, is a little bit more firmly rooted in reality compared to his later novels. The bizzare only starts occuring towards the end, even if you get hints of it in the beginning. For the most part, you feel like you can follow it pretty linearly, and things came together a little more neatly for me at the end in a way, even if still a typical Murakami bizzaro ending. So in that sense, I didn't get my usual, "Okay, I feel stupid because I didn't get it," reaction to his story. I kind of liked that for once it all tied up nice and neat and made sense to me.

But at the same time, I think it's also what made it a little less interesting. The thing is, with Murakami, you kind of buy into everything on the outset. Strange things happen, people do weird things, say things normal people wouldn't say, and you buy into all of it without a second thought. Wherever he takes you, you'll go with him. It's a full immersion into a wild dream where nothing makes sense but it's all compelling. But Wild Sheep Chase I felt, lacked some of that. There were stretches of the novel where I was a little bored, and that never happens. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed it for the most part, and now, re-reading the beginnings of Dance Dance Dance, it makes so much more sense. But parts of it were like, okay, ho-hum, he's sitting in a cabin, he's reading a book, yay. And the ending, while it tied everything together somewhat neatly, I just didn't feel as satisfied with it as I would have liked. It was more like, oh, okay, so that makes sense, that's why this happened, all right. I guess it was a much more subtle book. It was definitely funnier than the others I read, but I felt it lacked the sense of dreaminess or bizzare or even nostalgia that the others I've read held, which is what really captivates me about Murakami. His way of conveying all of the strange with a weird sensibility and beauty. Like I said, like being caught in a dream. This one didn't feel that way exactly. It felt like I had one foot in, one foot out. Bordering on a threshold.

So, I guess my thoughts are, it was good, but not great. Good to read for Dance Dance Dance fans. But I guess Murakami has evolved somewhat since he wrote this, and maybe I went in with false expectations. For an early novel, it's pretty good. Maybe if I hadn't known what Murakami is capable of, I wouldn't have been as disappointed with it.

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