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Rhys William Tyers

Many of Murakami’s novels demonstrate his appropriation of the terminology, imagery and metaphor that are found in hardboiled detective fiction. The question of Haruki Murakami’s use of the tropes from hardboiled detective stories has been discussed by scholars such as Hantke (2007), Stretcher (2002) and Suter (2008), who argue that the writer uses these features as a way to organize his narratives and to pay homage to one of his literary heroes, Raymond Chandler. However, these arguments have not adequately addressed the fact that many of Murakami’s novels fit into the definition of the metaphysical detective story, which is “a text that parodies or subverts traditional detective-story conventions” (Merivale & Sweeney 1999:2). Using this definition as a guiding principle, this paper addresses the issue of the metaphysical detective features apparent in Murakami’s third novel, A Wild Sheep Chase, and, more specifically, looks at his use of the non-solution and labyrinth as narrative devices. The main argument, then, is that Murakami’s A Wild Sheep Chase fits in with the metaphysical detective novel and uses the familiar tropes of the labyrinth and the non-solution to highlight our impossible search for meaning.