Ben Smithgall

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Bit pusher at Spotify. Previously Interactive News at the New York Times, U.S. Digital Service, and Code for America.





A Wild Sheep Chase

By Haruki Murakami (with Alfred Birnbaum (tr))

Finished reading on July 6, 2019

It has been awhile since I read anything by Murakami. His style is at once strange and comforting; descriptions of cooking and eating food mixed in with the same tone and cadence as being visited by the dead, or conversing with a “Sheep Man.”

One passage that stuck out to me was towards the beginning, where the unnamed protagonist is talking to his business partner about a shadowy and powerful figure known only as “The Boss:”

“‘Every company’s got a secret it doesn’t want exploded right in the middle of the annual shareholders’ meeting. In most cases, they’ll listen to the word handed down. In sum, the Boss sits squarely on top of a trilateral power base of politicians, information services and the stock market.’”

This reminded me quite a bit of a section in Umberto Eco’s Numero Zero, where the characters go on for a bit about how publishing is quite a silly activity.

In any case, A Wild Sheep Chase is both bizarre and simple: easy to read and hard to understand.