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A Wild Sheep Chase (The Rat, #3)
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Posts Gone By > Sheep: The Ear & The Rat: Part 1 - 5

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message 1: by Andrew, Wound Up (last edited Mar 15, 2013 12:09PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Andrew Finazzo (johnyqd) | 343 comments ***Open discussion of Part 1-5 below, no spoiler marks needed. Be sure you have read through Part 5 before reading! Note: if this is your first visit to this topic I recommend you read this post about discussion ideas, then skip down and post your initial response, then read and respond to other people's posts.***

At the very least check in here when you finish Part 5 and tell us if you are enjoying the book. I'll post specific discussion ideas below, along with some general topics we'll see repeated throughout the book.

Part 1-5 discussions:

1) If you were in charge of making a movie of A Wild Sheep Chase, what film style, director, and actors would you select? Be as specific or general as you like. Living, dead or fictional persons qualify.

2) Other than "the Rat" and "J" (both specified as nicknames) characters' names have not been used in the book so far. How does this stylistic decision impact your reading?

General Discussions:

1) Share your favorite quote(s) from this section.

2) Share your favorite word(s) used in this section.

3) Do you have a favorite or most intriguing character at this point in the novel?

Location reminder

If you are returning to this topic after having continued past Part 5, here is a plot reminder:

The narrator has delivered the Rat's letters to the ex girlfriend and has booked a train ride home.


message 2: by Michelle, Overrun By Pets (last edited Mar 16, 2013 07:52AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Michelle Finazzo | 281 comments I have two very specific visions for my movie. My first choice is shot as a classic black and white film noir inspired by Diabolique (the 1955 version, not the remake) which is one of my very favorite old-timey suspense films. My director of choice would be Henri-Georges Clouzot who is known as the French Hitchcock. He directed and co-wrote scenarios/dialogue for the film. My actor choices would be Humphrey Bogart of the Sam Spade variety, and Lauren Bacall. I may also throw in Rita Hayworth as the ear model for good measure.

Especially during the beginning of the book, I got a vision of an old detective movie where the narrator, usually the primary character, both asks questions and then answers the questions himself out loud. The author uses this technique sometimes when ending one chapter and then repeating the sentence/thought for the beginning of the next chapter. I love this. The absence of a table of contents also lends a bit of mystique/mystery to the book.

My second choice of movie would be a Frank Miller/Robert Rodriguez co-direction, shot in the style of Sin City concentrating on gritty black and white shots with pops of color. I would cast Andy Lau in the primary role, Chow Yun-Fat as the Rat, and Zhang Ziyi as the call-girl girlfriend.

The lack of character names definitely threw me, especially during Chapter 2 when the main character after returning home from a funeral enters his residence and says "She was slumped over the kitchen table, forehead on her arms, profile hidden by straight black hair." I read it in disbelief several times thinking that the girl whose funeral he had just attended was not really dead and was right there in his apartment. What a shocking development, except the girl in his apartment did end up being a completely different "she". Once the relationships have been established and after new characters have been introduced and have a clear "descriptor" that can be used as a reference point, lack of names are less disconcerting.

One of the most intriguing things for me thus far is that the author clearly sets and repeats the year of occurrence yet I kept forgetting and find myself thinking about the plot in terms of current day. Other than very small details, like smoking in a restaurant, the dialogue and story seems very modern and not at all dated.

My favorite quotes include: "Mrs. X expressed dislike for politicians, old men, perverts, and the poor."

"He showed me the wine label, all smiles as if showing me a photo of his only son. I nodded. He unscrewed the cork with a pleasant pop, then poured out a small mouthful in my glass. It tasted like the price of the entire dinner." This is SO awesome, because we experienced this exact scene in a fancy French restaurant in our real lives the day before I read this. I have no regrets, it was absolutely fantastic!

"He spoke as if running a white-gloved hand over a table top."

Favorite words: aphorisms, fastidious, iota, gaol, facile, anithetical, lithograph,depreciations, winsome, monumentally.

I simply can't wait to find out more about the Boss. His house is such a crazy amalgamation of styles. He employs such strange people and his interest in sheep has me wanting to plow ahead in this book.

message 3: by Andrew, Wound Up (new) - rated it 5 stars

Andrew Finazzo (johnyqd) | 343 comments Casting: I am going to have co-directors Wes Anderson and David Lynch. Anderson for the visual impact, imagine an aquarium scene that starts pulled back to a side-slice of a huge aquarium. The slice zooms to the left side and slow pans through the building to end on the narrator (as a child) sitting alone in front of a certain exhibit. Lynch for the conversations which often remind of Twin Peaks.

Narrator: Masi Oka, from Heroes.
Girlfriend: Olivia Williams, Rushmore.
Ex Wife: Emily Blunt.
J: Bill Murray.
The Rat: Brad Pitt, between Spy Games and 7 Years in Tibet styling.
Business Partner: Jason Schwartz.
The Rat's Ex: Ellen Page.
Politician: Choi Min-sik (Old Boy).

Unnamed: I think Murakami forces me to think about characters differently, more specifically, by not stating their names. It is also much easier to remember the role of "the chauffeur" versus "Ron". It also avoids adding unintended meaning to the characters. This is even pointed out when the narrator is discussing The Rat with The Rat's ex and she explains why she never called him The Rat.

This style also adds a feeling of timelessness to the story. The obituary on page 1 is an example "The date, a street corner, a person driving a truck, a pedestrian, a casualty, an investigation of possible negligence."

I consistently forget names in all aspects of my life. It is very relate-able to reference people by titles, characteristics, or memories. It also helps me understand the person making the reference. When the narrator explains about his ex girlfriend "'Back then, there was this girl who'd sleep with anyone.' That's her name.'" it tells me volumes about his feelings about her and their past relationship. Imagine how different your view of the relationship would be if she was "the girl who smelled like rose petals" or "that boring lonely girl".

Quotes: What is the importance of this crazy relationship to the rest of the book? Tell me, have you ever thought of killing me? or "Sometimes I get real lonely sleeping with you." "I'm sorry I make you feel that way," I said.

I think there is something so sad about this statement made by the narrators wife: "Say there's an hourglass: the sand's about to run out. Someone like you can always be counted on to turn the thing over"

The narrator's argument with his business partner is perfectly crass and concise: C'mon now, there's no honest work anywhere. Just like there's no honest breathing or honest pissing.

And of course a whiskey quote (which is perfectly true, there is no doubt in my mind that Murakami drinks bourbon): The second whiskey is always my favorite. From the third on, it no longer has any taste. It's just something to pour into your stomach. I like to call that "Ole Granddad Time".

Words: I'm a slow starter on this new question.

*Tell me straight, because that's my favorite angle.
*Maybe it's impossible to live out a life in context.
* J's real name was some unpronounceable Chinese polysyllable.

Character: The Rat. Where is he? Why did he ask the narrator to publish the picture? What is his novel about? Is The Rat pulling the narrator out of his comfort zone intentionally (the narrator's girlfriend notes that "your life is not boring. You wish your life was boring.")?

Overall: I'm having a great time with this book and I'm certainly ready to get on with the chase!

message 4: by Michelle, Overrun By Pets (new) - rated it 5 stars

Michelle Finazzo | 281 comments @Andrew - Interesting addition to the favorite words section (having the whole sentence/context added), I will have to consider this.

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