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Dance Dance Dance Paperback – January 31, 1995

4.3 out of 5 stars 194 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this impressive sequel to A Wild Sheep Chase , Murakami displays his talent to brilliant effect. The unnamed narrator, a muddled freelance writer, is 34 and no closer to finding happiness than he was in the previous book. Divorced, bereaved and abandoned by his various lovers, he is drawn to the Dolphin Hotel--a strange and lonely establishment where Kiki, a woman he once lived with, "upped and vanished." Kiki and the Sheep Man, an odd fellow who wears a sheepskin and speaks in a toneless rush, visit the narrator in visions that lead him to two mysteries, one metaphysical (how to survive the unsurvivable) and the other physical (a call girl's murder). In his searchings, he encounters a clairvoyant 13-year-old, her misguided parents and a one-armed poet. All the hallmarks of Murakami's greatness are here: restless and sensitive characters, disturbing shifts into altered reality, silky smooth turns of phrase and a narrative with all the momentum of a roller coaster. If Mishima had ever learned the value of gentleness, this is the sort of page-turner he might have written. Paperback rights to Vintage.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

If Kafka were to find himself imprisoned in a novel that had been written by Raymond Chandler and was then forced to develop a sense of humor, the resultant voice might likely resemble that of the protagonist in this latest delight from one of Japan's leading contemporary writers. Something of a sequel to 1988's A Wild Sheep Chase ( LJ 10/15/89), this book features an ordinary man on an extraordinary journey living in a world glittering with technology in which something is wanting still. Fans of the first book will certainly want to read this one, although Dance Dance Dance stands quite well on its own. The relentless coyness and flippancy that characterized A Wild Sheep Chase gives way here to passages that are sometimes lyrical and an ending that is at once desperate, affirmative, and filled with the breath of life. Recommended for all serious fiction collections.
- Mark Woodhouse, Elmira Coll. Lib., N.Y.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (January 31, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679753796
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679753797
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.9 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (194 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #24,267 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Matthew Marko on September 12, 2005
Format: Paperback
I picked up Murakami on a whim. I had been exploring Japanese literature, but my preferences were for the ancient works. Yet, something about it spoke to me. Maybe it was the wild title, maybe it was the synopsis, maybe it was fate.

What I found was a strange, surreal noir. At heart, it's a detective story. The search for a long-lost love (so cliche that it becomes subversive and the subplots seem to take center stage) in a place out of memory that isn't what it seems. The narrator wanders through a dreamland of wild experiences pulled from Murakami's imagined reality that just drips with an old-school sensibility. It almost seems perfect for a 30's or 40's era noir film, pulpy and beautiful.

What I liked most about it was how empty it all felt. His narrator is a loner, and the world that was built emphasized this. It just seems a lonely book, and all the characters seem motivated by loneliness. It's a great atmospheric, not overly dramatic but understated in the dry humor in the piece.

What seems most interesting is how the narrators various threads of story all eventually come back to the main plot, which becomes muddled throughout the tale. It all comes back to point out the interconnectedness of people, the power of consequence and luck in determining destiny, and a kind of grand design where it all seems to work out without any reason why (even when working out isn't the best option). It's not deus ex machina, it's how real life seems to work, and Murakami captures that chaotic purpose beautifully.

I've gone on to read other Murakami, but this one stands out in my mind, being the first. It's a sequel to a book I'm not sure I want to read, but it's complete on its own. I don't want to know about the narrator's previous adventures, that's how good this book is at telling this man's story. A wonderful tale, highly recommended.
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By A Customer on September 27, 2002
Format: Paperback
Far superior to its successor, the Wind Up Bird Chronicle, this book wonderfully concludes the story of a protagonist started with "Hear The Wind Sing," "Pinball 1973," and "A Wild Sheep Chase." In this book, the protagonist, a self-employed loner who lives outside the "normal" conventions of the Japanese salaryman and society, sets out on a quest to find his girlfriend from "A Wild Sheep Chase." (For those who have not read "A Wild Sheep Chase," I will not ruin for you the circumstances that set this off). For the first few chapters, the protagonist is alone, walking the streets of Hokkaido, sitting in bars by himself and "contemplating the ashtray" (there must be tons of loners out there who can appreciate this) until eventually clues, both supernatural and other, take him to Tokyo and Hawaii, and introduce a slew of unforgettable, well written, deep characters. Such characters include Yuki, the troubled 13 year old psychic who is far superior to the undeveloped clone of May Kasahara in the Wind Up Bird Chronicle, the actor Gotanda, who can portray your life better than you can, the unforgettable detectives Bookish and Fisherman...the list goes on and on. What this book is, basically, is the fulfillment of the personal quest. It is a book that will be best appreciated by people who have been loners, stand removed from the "norms" of society of a wife, a 9 to 5 job in an impersonal office, two kids, a pet, and perhaps even a dedication to any particular religion, and have, as such, culivated a deep level of observation, a bit of an alienation to and from society, and perhaps a personal subconscious inkling/longing for a supernatural happenstance such as The Dolphin Hotel that make up for a lack of belief in any conventional religious notion accepted by the masses...
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Format: Paperback
Reading Dance Dance Dance is like wandering through a dream. It's a sticky spider web of unique characters and various locales that often leaves the reader feeling entangled and confused. The novel follows an unnamed narrator on his surreal search for a mysterious former lover, while following the cryptic instructions of the one known only as "The Sheep Man". If you're looking for a book that will lay everything out for you on a silver platter, Dance Dance Dance is not for you. On the one hand, even though the novel does not insult your intelligence by spelling everything out, it still manages to leave you feeling stupid after its conclusion - a sense of emptiness and a vague suspicion that you missed something. I never felt like I actually got anything out of this book - no sense of closure. And even so, the novel seems to paint a near-perfect picture of the disconnect and apathy that so many suffer in a fast-paced modernizing society. The writing is rich and descriptive. Yet in the end, it feels like wading through a sea of molasses. Sure, it's absolutely delicious, and at first you just can't get enough. But as you continue, you become full, you can't take another bite - your steps become more laboured as you try to find your way out of the sticky goo. You suffocate and gasp for air, until you finally find yourself, tired and panting on the other shore and wondering what the whole point of the ordeal was.
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Format: Paperback
I know "A Wild Sheep Chase" (WSC) is a revered Murakami book and that "Dance, Dance, Dance" (DDD) is widely regarded as not in the same league as WSC, or the "The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle" or "Kafka on the Shore" but I thought DDD a much better book than WSC, superior also to "South of the Border, West of the Sun" and "Sputnik Sweetheart" and "Norwegian Wood" and up there with "Kafka on the Shore" though falling a bit short of "Wind-Up Bird" which is still Murakami's masterpiece I'd say. As far as DDD, the homage to Raymond Chandler is obvious and much appreciated. If Philip Marlow had grown up in Japan, listened to a lot of 60's classic rock (as well as the classical music Marlow fancied) and also liked swimming, cooking, housekeeping, and post-modern irony and metaphysics, then bang--you'd have the anonymous narrator of DDD! The beauty of this book is in the laconic, ironic, satirical, yet also compassionate, decent, and kind narrator. Those are tough qualities to combine, and Murakami pulls it off. The anonymous narrator, much like Chandler's Philip Marlowe, is a guy you'd love to hang out with. He's funny, laid back, honest, and basically a decent guy. He can admit his faults and while he's a little self-centered, he'd own up to that fault in a hurry, and compensates for it by being very patient and very loyal to his friends and fair to his enemies. He doesn't hate, doesn't want what he doesn't have, doesn't aspire to be famous or rich, doesn't hold grudges, and can see the world from the other guy's perspective. I would argue it is the essential likeableness of Murakami's narrators that makes him so readable. And the narrator of DDD is one of the most endearing of all of them, I would argue.Read more ›
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