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Dance Dance Dance

(The Rat #4)

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  59,544 ratings  ·  3,224 reviews
Alternate cover edition here.

High-class call girls billed to Mastercard. A psychic 13-year-old dropout with a passion for Talking Heads. A hunky matinee idol doomed to play dentists and teachers. A one-armed beach-combing poet, an uptight hotel clerk and one very bemused narrator caught in the web of advanced capitalist mayhem. Combine this offbeat cast of characters w
Paperback, 393 pages
Published February 7th 2002 by Vintage (first published October 13th 1988)
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Thinkerden10 The Rat Trilogy ends at A Wild Sheep Chase. We know what happened with The Rat in the A Wild Sheep Chase.
Dance Dance Dance is the last part of…more
The Rat Trilogy ends at A Wild Sheep Chase. We know what happened with The Rat in the A Wild Sheep Chase.
Dance Dance Dance is the last part of "Boku" Tetralogy. Boku means "I". This is the last part of the "I" (the main character) stories.
I haven't finished the book, yet, but I suppose there isn't The Rat in Dance Dance Dance. Only the Sheep Man.(less)
Jeanne Mixon I highly recommend reading A Wild Sheep Chase first because it is the origin of the sheep man.

Community Reviews

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Average rating 4.04  · 
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 ·  59,544 ratings  ·  3,224 reviews

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Mar 15, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I can't really justify my love of Murakami. As far as I'm concerned, he writes novels specifically for me to read them. It would probably save us both a lot of time and trouble if he'd skip the publishing process and just slip his finished manuscripts under my door. So I'm biased, you could say.

In short: this is early (ish) Murakami. If you dig it you'll dig it, if not you won't. I dig it.

Just make sure you've read his "Trilogy of the Rat" before reading this. Seriously.
Ahmad Sharabiani
ダンス・ダンス・ダンス = Dansu, dansu, dansu = Dance Dance Dance (The Rat #4), Haruki Murakami
Dance Dance Dance, is a novel by Japanese writer Haruki Murakami. First published in 1988, it was translated into English by Alfred Birnbaum in 1994. The book is a sequel to Murakami's novel A Wild Sheep Chase. In 2001, Murakami said that writing Dance Dance Dance had been a healing act after his unexpected fame following the publication of Norwegian Wood and that, because of this, he had enjoyed writing Dan
Jul 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
I have finally read a Murakami. I picked this up on a market stall and didn't realise it was part of a series until I listed it on GR and saw "The Rat, #4", but it works as a standalone story, albeit an intriguingly odd one. In conjures exciting unease and bafflement. It is a book of paradoxes and uncertainty, leaving me satisfied with being left, in some ways, unsatisfied.

What sort of story?
Genre labels can be useful, but can also be an irrelevant distraction. However, with this book, I found my
As one of Haruki Murakami's earlier novels, Dance Dance Dance is quite a feat. I really did enjoy it, but found a number of flaws that lessened my opinion of the work. It appears to be a sequel to the novel A Wild-Sheep Chase, which I have read, but the story lines overlap almost imperceptibly, meaning no, you do not have to read one in order to read the other. Dance Dance Dance has an almost nonexistent plot line. The main character is a middle-aged divorcee at a dead end job who is so maddeningly and predicta ...more
Michael Finocchiaro
This was either my 2nd or 3rd Murakami book and it did make me feel like jumping up and dancing sometimes. It is a wonderful story full of action and crazy characters and Murakami's absurdist sense of humour and attention to detail. A pure reading delight!
Mutasim Billah
Mar 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: japan
“Unfortunately, the clock is ticking, the hours are going by. The past increases, the future recedes. Possibilities decreasing, regrets mounting.”

A sequel to the Rat Trilogy, Dance Dance Dance was, in fact, a response to the unexpected fame that Norwegian Wood had brought to Murakami. There are references to trends and capitalism and consumerism and the vacuous concept of celebrity status and also the usual Murakami themes of alienation and the sudden discovery of a human connection. Also, there
Aug 20, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Confession: My own personal dream place is (also!) a hotel. It's resplendent, like some Titanic made up of wood & steel, with countless windows & deep pools. The Dolphin Hotel in H. Murakami's novel is a similar terrain: where the stuff of the subconscious mixes with everyday trivialities.

This is quintessential Murakami. The protagonist is an antisocial recluse who takes on a journey between the space of the actual and the cranial. Motifs like the double, the femme fetale, countless typ
Jun 28, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: fictional-novels
“Dance," said the Sheep Man. "Yougottadance. Aslongasthemusicplays. Yougottadance. Don'teventhinkwhy. Starttothink, onyourfeet, yourfeetstop, wegetstuck. Wegetstuck, you'restuck. Sodon'tpayanymind, nomatterhowdumb. Yougottakeepthestep. Yougottalimberup. Yougottaloosenwhatyoubolteddown. Yougottauseallyougot. Weknowyou'retired, tiredandscared. Happenstoeveryone,okay? Justdon'tletyourfeetstop.” (179)

“Dance," said the Sheep Man. "Yougottadance. Aslongasthemusicplays. Yougottadance. Don'teventhinkwhy. Starttothink, onyourfeet, yourfeetstop, wegetstuck. Wegetstuck, you'restuck. Sodon'tpayanymind, nomatterhowdumb. Yougottakeepthestep. Yougottalimberup. Yougottaloosenwhatyoubolteddown. Yougottauseallyougot. Weknowyou'retired, tiredandscared. Happenstoeveryone,okay? Justdon'tletyourfeetstop.” (179)

A Rendition of The Sheep Man

What did you expect? A normal talking conventional character? Of course not. There’s nothing like that here, or anywhere in Murakami’s work it would seem.

“I often dream about the Dolphin Hotel."(6)

Dance Dance Dance follows a nameless narrator haunted by recurring dreams of a hotel, The Dolphin Hotel, he was brought to by a high-end call girl. Whether it is the hotel or the call girl that keeps bringing him back, he cannot recall, nor seem to totally forget. He decided, after a life of indecisiveness, to finally return to the Hotel, only to find the place to have been lost to a capitalist investment of the same nature and the same name. He struggles to establish connections in the world, as he was advised to ‘dance’, and in these mishaps, went looking for a lost love, was accompanied by stoic-faced laconic-responsed thirteen-year old girl gifted with limited clairvoyance and meets an old high-school acquaintance.

I was almost irretrievably tempted to write this review in the Sheep Man’s language above, one without the proper spaces between words, but after trying it on the first few sentences, I found that it is even harder to control actions that border reflex and the subconscious, like that of tapping the space bar.

“You're probably right. As you say, I've lost and I'm lost and I'm confused. I'm not anchored to anything.”(87)

The idea that the unnamed narrator is drawn to the Dolphin Hotel made me shiver first, for an uncanny reason I quickly associated this with that of The Shining’s Outlook Hotel. The terror and fear which characterized my reading experience with it is exchanged by curiosity and interest in this piece however. Stripping this books plethora of surrealistic aspects, we are left with a bare handed tale of a lost man who has nothing but lost connections. And that is not mere tautology for Murakami’s work’s always concern an individual who is lost or has lost something leading us to narratives which are always unique, lyrical, and impeccably fluid. These narratives, which are always open to unfathomable elucidations of the metaphors and allusions they offer don’t always provide a closure, in fact they hardly ever do, don’t they?

"The human mind dwells deep in darkness. Only the person himself knows the real reason, and maybe not even then." (359)

The impeccable lyrical prose would, however, seem to me to be, mere icing on the cake. What compelled me to read another Murakami within a week of finishing Kafka on the Shore was how tangible, how alive, he has brought his characters to life in a surrealistic world. They are alive in their search for meanings, in their struggle to make human connections in an unforgiving world, they were the struggles of the everyday individual, they were mine too.

Murakami’s style is deftly his own. Me may be in a fickle love-hate relationship considering your other works, but just as you have written, there are certain individuals who exclusively bring you to euphoric places, and in a literary perspective you do fit the bill as one of those authors. Through your words, I am transported into this unique wonderful surreal world and still remain, human, very human indeed.

An added bonus is that whenever I finish your work, I get to play this bingo! Now, where does Dance Dance Dance, figure into this.


I have reviewed other books by Haruki Murakami
Kafka on the Shore (4 Stars)
Norwegian Wood (2 Stars)
The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle(2 Stars)

This review, along with my other reviews, has been cross-posted at imbookedindefinitely
William Thomas
Mar 09, 2012 rated it really liked it
I fall in love with every girl I see. Every girl I meet. It's true. I fall in love a hundred times in a week. It's always been like that. So very easy to look at these girls and their legs and their teeth while they ride the bus with me, while they shop for groceries next to me, while they wait in line at the bank in front of me. Because I don't have to really connect to them then. I don't have to really see the nakedness and the scars and the tan lines and the pimples under the makeup. I don't ...more
Dec 05, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: haruki-murakami
This is a book about dancing. Moving your feet to the music that's playing. The question that's not clearly expressed in the book is... who the fuck is the dj? Who's dictating how to dance? Is it yourself or is it the random facts that are out of your control? My guess is that it's both. The point is you've got to keep dancing, because music will keep playing and if you fall behind, you will lose grip of yourself, your life, your dreams and whatever it is that makes you who you are.

Gertrude & Victoria
Feb 01, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: japanese-library
I think that if I was lost in the never-ending sea of the Gobi desert, somewhere between Mongolia and China, had fallen into a deep narrow hole, and was unable to get out, so resigned to the darkness that surrounded me, with only a fleeting moment of sunlight and warmth each day, but armed with a flashlight and a box of batteries, a blanket and pillow, and a flask of rootbeer, and was given the choice of one book to read, while waiting for the search-and-rescue teams of the Japanese Imperial Arm ...more
This was my 3rd Murakami book after Norwegian Wood and Sputnik Sweetheart and this was the one which made me truly, madly and deeply fall in love with his works. The worlds of reality and surrealism mix so effortlessly in his beautiful writing that the reader can only be charmed. And if you don't like Murakami, you probably don't get him at all.
Jul 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“Dance, Dance” is a meandering novel set in a fragile world where if you’re not careful, you can slip through invisible doors to the other side. Never mind- it is just too difficult to describe. I love Murakami. It doesn’t matter to me that this novel isn’t his best- it is wonderful. Reading it made me happy.
Barry Pierce
Although marketed as a standalone novel, not much of Dance Dance Dance would make sense if you haven't read A Wild Sheep Chase. It's a sorta sequel to Murakami's Trilogy of the Rat where we once again meet the unnamed narrator with a penchant for Cutty Sark and Bill Evans.

A couple years after the events of A Wild Sheep Chase, our narrator finds himself returning to the strange and ethereal Dolphin Hotel in Sapporo. However, upon his arrival he is shaken to discover that the Dolphin Hotel has been entirely razed an
L.S. Popovich
I have trouble motivating myself to write about the works of Haruki Murakami. The fact of the matter is, I have read all of his work in English, I love it, I know it has flaws, and I don't care.

He has a legion of followers, rivaling Neil Gaiman, but I believe, at least in my eyes, his literature has lasting value, and literary merit in its own right. His work poses as pulp, lite magical realism, but it touches something deep. It is at times incongruous, dreamlike and silly, but it is
Jun 30, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2018
I can’t believe the Rat series is over. I’m going to miss these characters so so much.
This final book was certainly not as good as a Wild Sheep Chase. It wasn’t as funny or as impactful for me. I missed certain characters a lot too. I wish we got to see more of the Sheepman because he is so intriguing and unique. I also really miss the Rat.

But it had the usual Murakami charm and whimsy. Beautiful writing and such a good sense of real ness. I’ve mentioned it in my other Murakami reviews but the
Oct 26, 2007 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: haruki lovers
in the world war of short fiction writers, he is Hiroshima
Aug 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017
"When I got back to my Shibuya apartment, I poured myself a whiskey and watched the cars on the expressway through the blinds."

I love the imagery of this quotation which seems to me to sum up the atmosphere of a lot of this book. A man standing in the darkness looking out over the expressway with a glass of whisky in his hand. If you can picture that, you can picture the feel of this book.

A word of warning. Although you could read this book on its own, I would not recommend reading
May 27, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: beautiful
So far, 1/8 of the way in I am mesmerized. I'm still waiting for the plot to begin, but I don't care. I feel like I've become an extension of the character's psyche.

1/2 way through. I can't stop reading. Does everyone have a Sheep Man of their own? Mine is an older lady who watches out for me and whispers in my ear if malevolent beings are in the area. There is no way that I'm reading the next book on my "to -read" list before another Murakami novel. This is too beautiful! ..."
Daniel Clausen
Jul 30, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I loved this strange conclusion to The Rat series. I don’t know if I’ll write a full review of this book - but I’ll say that I love Murakami’s ability to mash up the mundane with the bizarre, along with endless life anecdotes on the way. I love getting lost in Murakami’s stories, this was no exception ❤ ...more
Lord Beardsley
Jul 01, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who have already read the wind-up bird chronicle and who are somewhat forgiving
Shelves: read2007
Murakami reached his top form with The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle and followed it with the (not as good, but still fantastic) Kafka On The Shore. That being said, this novel was written in 1988 when Murakami still had a ways to go.

The same elements of his style are all here: the main character who is somewhat a loafer and who takes pleasure in simplistic daily routines, the precocious young female character who he sort of falls in love with but is more just friends with, the elements of magical sur
May 30, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: contemporary
This is my first foray (redundant much? please forgive)into Murakami. I hate to say that I'm actually surprised that I enjoyed it so much. I don't know, maybe I just assumed that since I'm not really into Asian Culture that I would write it off and just know that at least I'd given it a try.

The first person narrative approach usually doesn't work for me. I have a hard time escaping into the story, knowing that the character is just relaying it to me. But, here, the protaganist is able to engage
Marius van Blerck
Jun 10, 2009 rated it really liked it
My advice: Read, Read, Read. This is another Murakami experience. In this book (essentially, an addendum to his earlier Rat trilogy) Murakami’s characters are not quite as much off the wall as in his later books, but they are still far from conventional. Similarly to his other works I have read to date, this book is not your average novel, but worth it if you have the time, and the inclination to dip into something a little different. There are similarities between the main characters of Murakam ...more
Jan 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This was for certain something really unusual. To create something out of actual nothing. This is the motto I found myself reaching while reading this book. 'Dance Dance Dance' showed me how many things I had remembered from 'A wild sheep chase'. While this one was far more intriguing, the other one just prepared the path for something enlightening, odd but normal in its abnormality. More like an imaginary adventure, a sci-fi, horror movie where no one can say where is the demarcation between re ...more
Mar 11, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3 and 1/2 stars. I enjoyed this, but like its 'prequel' A Wild Sheep Chase (though I found it unlike its prequel in style and tone) I think it's not as accomplished as his other works. With its elements of an unaffected (though likable) unnamed narrator and a missing woman, this is a good intro to Murakami. The only 'standard' Murakami element that seems to be missing is the theme of the effects of war on individuals. But there is plenty on other kinds of personal politics, such as the effects of living in ...more
Jul 31, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: general-fiction
I'm not sure if I've "outgrown" my love of Murakami or if this book just wasn't for me. Maybe it's a little bit of both. I found the typical Murakami Protagonist insufferable this time out, and - mild jabs at "advanced capitalism" aside - the story woefully disconnected from any real world relevance or recognizable human behavior. Murakami has occasionally listed this as his personal favorite of his novels, but there's nothing here that he didn't do better in other books.

I realized as I was editing my YouTube video review of this book that my feelings in my head and what I had put in here and on camera really weren't lining up, so I'm going to try again to show my feelings with this book.

This novel was the fourth and final in "The Rat" series - and I personally do believe they should be read in order, as a series should be, because there are many points you won't pick up on or appreciate if you don't read them in order - and alm
Faroukh Naseem
May 29, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"For darkness terrifies. It swallows you, warps you, nullifies you. Who alive can possibly profess confidence in darkness? In the dark, you can't see. Things can twist, turn, vanish. The essence of darkness-nothingness-covers all."

#theguywiththebookreview presents Dance, Dance, Dance by Haruki Murakami.

Have you ever gone to a restaurant and had something absolutely 'mind blowing' for your taste buds and you don't want to know what the ingredients are Or how the food was prepared? You just want
Jan 26, 2010 rated it liked it
I have now read a grand total of three Murakami novels (After Dark: loved it, Norwegian Wood: did NOT love it and this) and the thing is mostly I just can't figure him out. My instinct is to not like his writing and yet the book that I liked the most, After Dark, is the most unlike genre's I usually enjoy.
Dance, Dance, Dance is sprinkled with the fantastical(?)that at first really irritated me but eventually....didn't exactly "win me over" but didn't have me rolling my eyes in exasperation
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Murakami Haruki (Japanese: 村上 春樹) is a popular contemporary Japanese writer and translator. His work has been described as 'easily accessible, yet profoundly complex'. He can be located on Facebook at:

Since childhood, Murakami has been heavily influenced by Western culture, particularly Western music and literature. He grew up reading a range of works by American writers, such as Kurt Vonnegut and Richard B

Other books in the series

The Rat (4 books)
  • Hear the Wind Sing
  • Pinball, 1973
  • A Wild Sheep Chase
“Unfortunately, the clock is ticking, the hours are going by. The past increases, the future recedes. Possibilities decreasing, regrets mounting.” 2215 likes
“As time goes on, you'll understand. What lasts, lasts; what doesn't, doesn't. Time solves most things. And what time can't solve, you have to solve yourself.” 1098 likes
More quotes…