I am still reading Haruki Murakami’s Wild Sheep Chase, and it is an excellent novel. This is my first foray into Murakami’s work, and I specifically chose one of his first novels for that reason.
Without even delving into the plot yet, I must praise Murakami’s writing and style. It truly is exquisite. In some ways, it reminds me strongly of Hemingway’s work (circa Garden of Eden) in its spareness and intrigue. Murakami writes both about and around things in a way that tantalizes the reader. For example, he writes about the overwhelming beauty of one character’s ears, but never describes them directly. Instead, he describes the reaction they elicit from all those who see them. This way, the reader can shape their own mental image of the amazing ears, and Murakami does not drive the point into the ground by over-emphasizing it.
Later, he employs a similar method regarding a shadowy character of great power. Characters discuss the man and his background, but never once name him. The reader feels their fear in a palpable way; few people wield enough power to be known by reputation alone, remaining nameless and faceless to the masses.
This is not to say that Murakami does not employ descriptors. He strikes a balance between setting an immaculate scene and leaving enough to the readers’ imagination to keep them utterly engaged. I am just getting into the main action of the novel, and it is getting addicting. I may have to stop reading it at night, or I’ll never get any sleep. The review will be up as soon as I finish the book!