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A Wild Sheep Chase (The Rat, #3)
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Posts Gone By > Sheep: Shear Hell : Part 6 - 7

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message 1: by Michelle, Overrun By Pets (new) - rated it 5 stars

Michelle Finazzo | 281 comments ***Open discussion of Part 6-7 below, no spoiler marks needed. Be sure you have read through Part 7 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 7 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 6-7 discussions:

1) Where do you think the sheep is now? What place(s) do you think the sheep may go during the last section of the book?

2) Have you identified any repeating themes or concepts in the story?

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 7, here is a plot reminder:

The narrator and his girlfriend prepare to depart from the Dolphin Hotel.


message 2: by Michelle, Overrun By Pets (last edited Mar 23, 2013 04:49PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Michelle Finazzo | 281 comments I think the Rat found the sheep at the Sheep Professor's former residence (aka the location of the photo). I deduce that the Sheep is now inside the Rat who sought it out, sent some very odd letters, wrote a novel and now doesn't care about said novel. I think the sheep will ultimately make his way into our main character. A wild twist could occur and the main character may slaughter the sheep to end some crazy intricate conspiracy. I hope they don't eat the sheep.

One noted repeated theme involves numbers, specifically counting, number combinations and reference to time. The first section has a chapter titled "Sixteen Steps" and includes the main character counting out the steps. In the same chapter, the main character reference July 24, 8:25 (724 @ 825). In the second section, the Rat makes a strange statement to the main character in his first letter "I think I've gradually lost my sense of time. It's like there's this impossible flat blackbird flapping over my head and I can't count above three. You'll have to excuse me, but why don't you do the counting?"

There are consistent references to time of year and seasons throughout the book. Autumn specifically is very popular, often used for both setting purposes as well as a descriptor "Autumn Hairstyles", "autumn morning sun" etc.

Names, lack of names, forgetting names, what should be named and what should not is a huge part of this story. The main character says "A built-in ceiling speaker called my name. At first it didn't sound like my name. Only a few seconds after the announcement was over did it sink in that I'd heard the special characteristics of my name, and only gradually then did it come to me that my name was my name."

Animals play a fairly large role in the story so far. Some of my favorite moments have been about the main character's cat - "The cat got frightened, bit the chauffeur's thumb, then farted." Sorry about the continued reference to "the main character" I don't know what else to call him. The ever-elusive sheep also plays a pivotal part. Other animals such as dogs and blackbirds are mentioned.

My favorite quotes include: "If not for the sharp curve of his eyelids and the glass-bead chill of his pupils, I would surely have thought him homosexual." WHAT...I read this several times and it is still an enigma.

"This was a definitive silence, one you could judge the qualities of other silences by."

"The sofa was an unappealing orange, the sort of orange you'd get by leaving a choicely sunburnt weaving out in the rain for a week, then throwing it into the cellar until it mildewed. This was an orange from the early days of Technicolor." Has ANYONE ever considered orange so thoroughly?

My favorite words: presintiment, posthumously, vainglory, subsumed, apex, crestfallen, capitulated, fief, celluloid-rimmed, fatalism.

My favorite character this section was the Sheep Professor. I was intrigued by his eccentricity, his complicated relationship with the sheep, his fragmented relationship with his son and his undying passion for his field.

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

Andrew Finazzo (johnyqd) | 343 comments There was a point, right at the end of chapter 22, that I thought I need to restart this book because my perception has been skewed so far that I can no longer look back to the beginning without it having the fuzziness of a dream. I didn't do that... but was quite tempted!

Sheep location? I believe the sheep used the cyst in The Boss to allow itself to travel into and out of him at will. A sheep-nest/portal thing.

The sheep had to know that its legacy with the boss couldn't be indefinite. I believe the sheep allows its host some ability to see into the future and will use that to substantiate my sheeptinerary. Also, I think the sheep = sleep and the hallucinations = dreams.

The girl who would sleep with anyone's final conversation with the narrator ("I thought for a second there that maybe it wouldn't be so bad to get murdered by someone. Like when I'm sound asleep"... "I'm going to live to be twenty five, then die") shows that she was a sheep host at that time, but possibly resisting it's hold over her. I believe this conversation also shows that the sheep has been trying to influence the narrator for at least the last decade.

I think the narrator's wife was too pragmatic, even if she had been a host she would have been in denial about it and the sheep would not have had any observable control over her actions.

The sheep is now being hosted by the narrator's current girlfriend, with the ears. The sheep is speaking directly through her in the conversation about the picnic. "It's been a long ten years for you?" it asks.

I do not think the sheep wants the narrator to be its host. I think that maybe its purpose is to have the narrator write the book he is writing (A Wild Sheep Chase) as a means of spreading a specific message (i.e. the embodiment of sheep thought).

Themes? Sheep, death, dreams, sleep, travel, writing, and time are the themes that stand out to me the most.

The very first words out of the strange man's mouth (to the narrator) are "Everyone dies. All of us, whosoever, must die sometime." This seems to directly conflict with his goal of preserving the Will of Big Boss.

I want to expound on all of these ideas but it really does feel like a dream now. Maybe I should have started back at the beginning!

Quotes: Orchids had an ineffable aura of fatalism.

Why would a cat ever need to distinguish between a tennis shoe and a potato. I can't imagine a cat having much interest in either (except for one of my cats which has a fascination with shoes... but he would never confuse a shoe for a potato).

Their sex drive came across two panes of glass and the street in between.

I loved many of the sheep quotes, they are so direct and bizarre. It just felt like there was a sheep inside me.

Words: Undistinguished, vita, vainglory, miniscule (specifically as a word I don't use often enough), sheepless.

Character: The Sheep Professor. He's awesome.

Overall: I did absolutely no justice to the question regarding themes. Michelle and I had talked about multiple more specific questions but put them aside as being too leading in nature. The resulting non specificity made it so that I had to either write too much or leave it fragmented... sorry!

I can't put my finger on the Rat's involvement. I also think my whole theory about sheep jumping may be wrong. What if the girlfriends embody another anti-sheep entity! I must find out more...

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