Murakami's first widely published novel. It took me a while to get into this one, the first 30 pages or so went very slowly. This is the fourth book by him I've read and it seems to me that Murakami wasn't yet running at full speed with this one. All the Murakami-typical elements are here: a cat, solitude, girls, cooking, smoking, drinking and also crazy shit. There are great parts in here: the Dolphin hotel, the chauffeur and the mystery surrounding the man in the black suit and the sheep, the Sheep Man,... but to me it feels like it doesn't really come together. This could be because I have not read the two books leading up to this one, but supposedly it should not be an issue. It does feel quite fragmented, and at times I was was completely at a loss. Now it is not a novelty that Murakami confuses me, but I don't really get what he's trying to convey here as a whole. That might well be faulted completely at my end, though. Mayhap this needs a re-read. And mayhap I need to wildly chase those hard to find first two books of his.
That said, I did enjoy this. Murakami is a fantastic writer, whether I know what he's on about or not. And hey! Sheep. What do you know? Bloody sheep. Not like any of the sheep I've ever known. I can't really think of any cartoon that prominently feature sheep, or even just one. I can't even think of a company logo that uses a sheep. Poor sheep, so underused. Baa. So, in that respect, I am glad I have finally endulged in sheep-themed media. Hooray for sheep!
Anyway, yeah, this was pretty good, and I'll keep working my way through Murakami's oeuvre, because he rocks. Have a 3.5/5.