Dance Dance Dance is a sequel to Murakami’s A Wild Sheep Chase, making it… the fourth installment in the Trilogy of the Rat?
It seems that the reason it’s not considered a full part of the series is that was published six years after A Wild Sheep Chase, in 1988. Murakami apparently wrote it as a kind of healing act, revisiting his debut character after the unexpected fame that followed his publication of Norwegian Wood.
The story picks up the plot of the Trilogy of the Rat by answering questions that were left open, like the disappearance of the narrator’s unnamed girlfriend (and, naturally, leaves even more questions open by the end of the book).
The book is named after a 1957 song by The Dells, a naming habit that started with Norwegian Wood (after the Beatles song) and continued with South of the Border, West of the Sun (after a 1939 song by Jimmy Kennedy and Michael Carr) and The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle (each of its three parts evoke classical music: a Rossini opera, a Schumann piece, and a Mozart opera character).
Dance Dance Dance turned out to be my favorite Murakami novel to date. I think that the book series aspect has a lot to do with it: I was attached to the characters by that point, and was completely hooked by the story. It features classic Murakami themes like the one of music, has a similar narrative style as his previous books (I learned that it’s called the I-Novel), and more magical realism.
And do you know what the novel is named in Japanese?
ダンス・ダンス・ダンス: Dansu Dansu Dansu.