First Impression Friday will be a meme where you talk about a book that you JUST STARTED! Maybe you’re only a chapter or two in, maybe a little farther. Based on this sampling of your current read, give a few impressions and predict what you’ll think by the end.

91dnretaeALQuirky and utterly captivating, A Wild Sheep Chase is Murakami at his astounding best.

An advertising executive receives a postcard from a friend and casually appropriates the image for an advertisement. What he doesn’t realize is that included in the 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 who offers a menacing ultimatum: find the sheep or face dire consequences. Thus begins a surreal and elaborate quest that takes readers from Tokyo to the remote mountains of northern Japan, where the unnamed protagonist has a surprising confrontation with his demons.

To formally commence my immersion into Japanese literature (which is undoubtedly one of my favorites) this month, I am reading my 11th Haruki Murakami. Murakami is, I believe, my most read author since 2015. It’s either him or Dame Agatha Christie. Nonetheless, I love both authors for they have opened doors of literature I never thought I would fall in love with.

I have to admit though that I kind of have a love and hate relationship with Haruki Murakami. It goes without saying that he is an utterly brilliant and imaginative contemporary storyteller. My tricky relationship begun with 1Q84 back in 2015 and through 10 books, I am still trying my best to discover the heart of his motivation. Despite this tricky and rocky reader-writer relationship, he has become one of my favorite writers.

I guess that is enough of an introduction. It’s time to go back to the original aim of this Friday post (wow, it’s Friday already!) I started reading A Wild Sheep Chase just this Wednesday and surprisingly, the book’s pace is quicker than any of Murakami’s work before. It was an easier read or maybe because I have already gotten used to the quirks and nuances of Murakami’s work.

The book has the trademarks of a Murakami novel. Again, readers are introduced to an anonymous narrator who stirs the narrative. Then there are the symbolism like the sheep, a reference he used in some of his other works like in 1Q84 and some of his short stories. I just read a passage about a cat but it was just in passing so I guess it wasn’t any seminal point in the story. Japanese writers do have a fascination with cats and Murakami is no different.

I felt the reverberation of some of Murakami’s works like The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, Norwegian Wood, and Sputnik Sweetheart in the early sections of the book. The eerily familiar combination of love and sex, flashbacks, and domestic life were fine threads neatly sewn into the narrative that reminded me of Murakami’s other works.

So far, however, there’s lesser surrealism and fantasy in the story so I am expecting them to spring up as the plot thickens. I am at the point of the story where the narrator reached Hokkaido so I imagine that I am nearing the centrifugal point of the story – the titular sheep chase. This is my first Murakami in over a year but I find it easier to adjust to the whimsy of his writing this time around. I hope I get to finish it this weekend because I am curious how the narrative revolves.

Happy last week of the day everyone! What book are you going to read this weekend? I hope you’re safe and comfortable in your homes! Stay safe, and as always, happy reading!