A Wild Sheep Chase

By Haruki Murakami,

Book cover of A Wild Sheep Chase

Book description

Features a cast of bizarre characters, including a sheep with a mysterious star on its back, caught up in a Nietzschean quest for power.

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Why read it?

3 authors picked A Wild Sheep Chase as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

This was the book that set me off on a decade-long journey of reading (and re-reading) Murakami. Along with The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, another favorite, I've re-read it at least twice.

So why is it about thinking differently? Because the book is written so differently! If you've read any recent speculative fiction, the author likely owes a debt to Murakami and his wondrous approach to narrative storytelling. You'll get lost in a bizarre, beautiful quest that takes on all sorts of twists and turns.

Murakami is a master of misdirection and foreboding. He’s clearly influenced by the hard-boiled detective fiction of Hammett and Chandler. His books often echo elements of the genre. The protagonist of A Wild Sheep Chase finds himself caught in an impersonal system of crime and corruption and driven down strange pathways on a quest he does not fully understand. Murakami takes the hazy, dream-like atmosphere of Chandler’s work and develops it into a kind of magical realist form that leaves the reader with a solved mystery but still wondering what exactly happened.

From Bradley's list on mystery where the quest goes sideways.

Quite literally a bizarre animal adventure (the original Japanese title translates to “An Adventure Surrounding Sheep”), this charming novel was my first foray into the dream-like storytelling of Murakami. Sometimes sleepy and comforting, sometimes thrilling and sometimes downright brain-bending, this tale of a couple’s mission to track down a sheep of mythic proportions had me doing laps around my house, unable to put it down, but in desperate need to get up off the couch (who else spent the holidays in lockdown?).

Speaking of lockdown, and the lack of agency many of us feel right now as we enter the…

From Becky's list on bizarre animal adventures.

Shahrazad's Gift

By Gretchen McCullough,

Book cover of Shahrazad's Gift

Gretchen McCullough Author Of Shahrazad's Gift

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a fiction writer and currently live in Cairo, where I have lived for over twenty years. I noticed that the way I started telling stories was influenced by learning Arabic and by listening to the stories of the people in the city. My interest in Arabic also led me to read Arabic literature, like A Thousand and One Nights.   

Gretchen's book list on books influenced by Thousand and One Nights

What is my book about?

Shahrazad’s Gift is a collection of linked short stories set in contemporary Cairo — magical, absurd, and humorous.

The author focuses on the off-beat, little-known stories, far from CNN news: a Swedish belly dancer who taps into the Oriental fantasies of her clientele; a Japanese woman studying Arabic, driven mad by the noise and chaos of the city; a frustrated Egyptian housewife who becomes obsessed by the activities of her Western gay neighbor; an American journalist who covered the civil war in Beirut who finds friendship with her Egyptian dentist. We also meet the two protagonists of McCullough's Confessions of a Knight Errant, before their escapades in that story.

These stories are told in the tradition of A Thousand and One Nights.

Shahrazad's Gift

By Gretchen McCullough,

What is this book about?

Shahrazad's Gift is a collection of linked short stories set in contemporary Cairo-magical, absurd and humorous. The author focuses on the off-beat, little-known stories, far from CNN news: a Swedish belly dancer who taps into the Oriental fantasies of her clientele; a Japanese woman studying Arabic, driven mad by the noise and chaos of the city; a frustrated Egyptian housewife who becomes obsessed by the activities of her Western gay neighbor; an American journalist who covered the civil war in Beirut who finds friendship with her Egyptian dentist. We also meet the two protagonists of McCullough's Confessions of a Knight…


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