An assault on the senses, part murder mystery, part metaphysical speculation; a fable for our times as catchy as a rock song blasting from the window of a sports car.
Haruki Murakami was born in Kyoto in 1949 and now lives near Tokyo. He is the author of many novels as well as short stories and non-fiction. His works include Norwegian Wood, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, Kafka on the Shore, After Dark and What I Talk About When I Talk About Running. His work has been translated into more than forty languages, and the most recent of his many international honours is the Jerusalem Prize, whose previous recipients include J.M. Coetzee, Milan Kundera, and V.S. Naipaul.
If Kafka were to find himself imprisoned in a novel that had been written by Raymond Chandler and was then forced to develop a sense of humor, the resultant voice might likely resemble that of the protagonist in this latest delight from one of Japan's leading contemporary writers. Something of a sequel to 1988's A Wild Sheep Chase ( LJ 10/15/89), this book features an ordinary man on an extraordinary journey living in a world glittering with technology in which something is wanting still. Fans of the first book will certainly want to read this one, although Dance Dance Dance stands quite well on its own. The relentless coyness and flippancy that characterized A Wild Sheep Chase gives way here to passages that are sometimes lyrical and an ending that is at once desperate, affirmative, and filled with the breath of life. Recommended for all serious fiction collections.-- Mark Woodhouse, Elmira Coll. Lib., N.Y.
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. Paperback rights to Vintage. (Jan.)
"If Raymond Chandler had lived long enough to see Blade Runner, he might have written something like Dance Dance Dance" * Observer *
"An entertaining mix of modern sci-fi, nail-biting suspense and ancient myth...a sometimes funny, sometimes sinister mystery spoof, but like all good postmodern fiction, it also aims at contemporary human concerns, philosophical as well as literary" * Chicago Tribune *
"An entertaining adventure that takes us to the frozen north of Japan, to Hawaii and to the dark, damp corners of the imagination... Reading Dance Dance Dance is a bit like being taken blindfold on a joy-ride" * Independent *
"Mr Murakami writes metaphysical Far Easterns with a Western beat...there are echoes of Raymond Chandler, John Irving and Raymond Carver, but Mr. Murakami's mysterious plots and original characters are very much his own creation" * New York Times *
"Brilliantly combines elements of the surreal, film noir and existentialist enquiry" * Sunday Times *