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Dances with Sheep
The Quest for Identity in the Fiction of Murakami Haruki
by Matthew Carl Strecher, Tokyo University

Interesting, informative, and provocative. . . . Strecher has made a valuable contribution to our understanding of Murakamiís fiction.
Erik R. Lofgren in World Literature Today

Strecherís book, like Murakamiís fiction, is complex, challenging, and meaningful.
Patricia Welch in The Journal of Asian Studies

Fascinating discussions of Murakamiís historical, cultural, and economic context, the nature of his readership, and his deft manipulation of the many genres that enliven [his] novels.
Ted Goossen in Pacific Affairs.

As a spokesman for the disaffected youth of the post-1960s, Murakami Haruki has become one of the most important voices in contemporary Japanese literature. In this first book-length study in English of Murakamiís work, Strecher examines Murakamiís fiction Ė and, to a lesser extent, his nonfiction Ė for its most prevalent structures and themes, delving into the paradoxes in Murakamiís writings that confront critics and casual readers alike.

The methodology, both historical and cultural, analyzes Murakamiís critical focus on the fate of individual identity in contemporary Japan. The result is that the simplicity of the Murakami hero, marked by lethargy and nostalgia, emerges as emblematic of contemporary humankind, bereft of identity, direction, and meaning.

Published by Center for Japanese Studies, University of Michigan
Michigan Monographs in Japanese Studies No. 37
Published 2004, 251 pp.
ISBN 1 929280 07 6, hardback, £40.00