In this impressive sequel to A Wild Sheep Chase , Murakami displays his talent to brilliant effect.
The unnamed narrator, a muddled freelance writer, is 34 and no closer to finding happiness than he was in the previous book.
Divorced, bereaved and abandoned by his various lovers, he is drawn to the Dolphin Hotel--a strange and lonely establishment where Kiki, a woman he once lived with, ˝upped and vanished.˝
Kiki and the Sheep Man, an odd fellow who wears a sheepskin and speaks in a toneless rush, visit the narrator in visions that lead him to two mysteries, one metaphysical (how to survive the unsurvivable) and the other physical (a call girl’s murder). In his searchings, he encounters a clairvoyant 13-year-old, her misguided parents and a one-armed poet.
All the hallmarks of Murakami’s greatness are here: restless and sensitive characters, disturbing shifts into altered reality, silky smooth turns of phrase and a narrative with all the momentum of a roller coaster.
If Mishima had ever learned the value of gentleness, this is the sort of page-turner he might have written.