Welcome to the Japanese Literature Book Group discussion of Dance Dance Dance by Haruki Murakami.
About the Book
Dance Dance Dance (ダンス・ダンス・ダンス, Dansu dansu dansu) is Haruki Murakami's sixth novel. It was first published in Japan in 1988, and the English translation by Alfred Birnbaum was released in 1994. The book is a sequel, of sorts, 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 Dance more than any other novel. [Information courtesy of Wikipedia]
In this propulsive novel, one of the most brilliant writers at work in any language fuses science fiction, the hard-boiled thriller, and white-hot satire into a new element of the literary periodic table. As he searches for a mysteriously vanished girlfriend, Murakami's protagonist plunges into a wind tunnel of sexual violence and metaphysical dread in which he collides with call girls; plays chaperone to a lovely teenaged psychic; and receives cryptic instructions from a shabby but oracular Sheep Man. Dance Dance Dance is a tense, poignant, and often hilarious ride through the cultural mosaic that is Japan, a place where everything that is not up for sale is up for grabs. [Blurb courtesy of Random House]Other references:
Haruki Murakami website
Read an excerpt (courtesy of Random House)
Looking for America, or Is It Japan? (Review in The New York Times)
Sushi and good red herrings (Review in The Independent)
I couldn't find any discussion or reading group guides online so we'll have to make do with some questions I came up with. Please do jump in with any of your own questions though to help me out!
How does Dance Dance Dance compare to A Wild Sheep Chase? Did you prefer one book over the other? If you haven't yet read A Wild Sheep Chase, do you plan to?
Our narrator remains nameless throughout, but unlike A Wild Sheep Chase, many of the other characters in Dance Dance Dance were named? Do you think this was done on purpose? Did this alter your reading experience?
Did you have any favourite characters, or scenes in Dance Dance Dance?
Did your perception of the Sheep Man change? Do you think he plays a different role in Dance Dance Dance, than in A Wild Sheep Chase?
"Is there really a Sheep Man?" she asked.The importance of human connection is a major theme in Dance Dance Dance. What do you think Murakami is saying here about relationships, and fate?
"Yes, there really is," I said. "There's a place in that hotel where he lives. A whole other hotel in that hotel. You can't see it most of the time. But it's there. That's where the Sheep Man lives, and all sorts of things connect to me through there. The Sheep Man is kind of like my caretaker, kind of like a switchboard operator. If he weren't around, I wouldn't be able to connect anymore."
"Yeah, when I'm in search of something, when I want to connect, he's the one who does it." (chapter 23, p. 193)
Do you think the chapter numbers, with the black lines in various positions relative to the numbers, had any significance? How about the fact that chapter number 42 was upside down? Updated to add: At least it was in the edition I read. See below.
Vintage UK trade paperback, ISBN: 9780099448761
Who do you think the sixth skeleton represents?
Did anyone else chuckle at the name of Yuki's famous but mediocre writer father?
Any other thoughts or questions about book?
[Your Question Here...]
I've finished reading the book (yay!) so I'll be more present for the discussion this time around. I look forward to chatting about Dance Dance Dance with you. Please feel free to go ahead and answer any of the questions that interest you, or comment on any aspect of the book. If you have not yet read the book though, please be warned that comments may contain spoilers, so please proceed at your own risk.
Dance Dance Dance has been reviewed by:
Polishing Mud Balls
The Reading Life
If you've posted about Dance Dance Dance on your own blog, let me know and I'll add the link here.
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