Have you ever been ‘sheeped’?

OK–advance discalimer–this is not a post about fraternity hazing.

A Wild Sheep ChaseI read Haruki Murakami’s A Wild Sheep Chase a few months ago and the striking images and unsettling moods evoked by this novel have continued coming to mind ever since. Like one of the characters from the novel who develops a strange obsession with sheep, I can’t seem to shake this book. I learned a new word: ‘sheeped’.  Seems to have the original meaning of a stupefying affliction developed by some shepherds after a long season with their sheep, the effect of which is to make one both sheep-like in affect and strangely drawn to to he herd. Murakami stretches this notion to a metaphysical level and slowly, page by page, tears down the ontological barrier between human and sheep.

That unexpected foray into the world of the deeply sheeped and the protagonist’s strange obsession with ears made the book a bit difficult for me to get into at first, but it slowly took hold of me.  The ending left me utterly perplexed in a way that no book has done in years. Now months after putting it down, it is still whispering in my ear.  What more could one ask of a novel?

I think I have to read it again.

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