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Sputnik Sweetheart: A Novel Paperback – April 9, 2002
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Haruki Murakami, the internationally bestselling author of Norwegian Wood and The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, plunges us into an urbane Japan of jazz bars, coffee shops, Jack Kerouac, and the Beatles to tell this story of a tangled triangle of uniquely unrequited loves.
A college student, identified only as âK,â falls in love with his classmate, Sumire. But devotion to an untidy writerly life precludes her from any personal commitmentsâuntil she meets Miu, an older and much more sophisticated businesswoman. When Sumire disappears from an island off the coast of Greece, âKâ is solicited to join the search party and finds himself drawn back into her world and beset by ominous, haunting visions. A love story combined with a detective story, Sputnik Sweetheart ultimately lingers in the mind as a profound meditation on human longing.
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I was glued to the pages almost immediately. Human loneliness was a big theme in the book and I feel like it really managed to capture that feeling that we all have in varying degrees. I'll admit I teared up once or twice.
The prose is his usual mix of matter-of-fact, poetic and surreal.
I highly recommend this book.
Sumire feels at odds with the world. Her only passion in life to date has been writing though she has had almost no success with it either. K, Sumire's former college classmate and only friend is her only real connection in the world. K has fallen in love with Sumire however the feeling isn't mutual as Sumire has never had that kind of desire for anyone that is until she meets Miu. Sumire takes a job with Miu that eventually leads them to a vacation on an island off the coast of Greece from which Sumire disappears. With no one else to turn to Miu contacts K and he heads off to help in the search...
"Sputnik Sweetheart" is my fifth Murakami experience. "Kafka on the Shore" is still my favorite but "Sputnik Sweetheart", is a good short read from Murakami and captures many of the elements and themes that are prevalent throughout Murakami's works.
The Good: Murakami's writing always draws me in. I always enjoy the characters, the story, the way as the reader you are privy to Japanese culture in small servings, and the always prevalent spiritual and metaphysical elements than run rampant in Murakami's stories. These elements allow him to take what would normally be a relatively simple plot and turn it into a story with depth.
The Bad: Nothing memorable.
Overall: If you are a fan of Murakami's other work you will probably enjoy Sputnik Sweetheart as well. If you haven't tried Murakami before this may not be a bad place to start because it is one of his shorter stories.
All the characters are split into their desire to love and their lack of ability to love. Murakami plays with that split and makes it literal through a skilful rendering of the realistic and surreal, and even the resolution of the novel is divided-- what connection is there between people besides at least looking at the same moon?
This is my second Murakami (_Norwegian Wood_ was the first) and it confirmed by view of him as an interesting writer whose work I will continue to read. I found that I liked NW better, in that I was less convinced with how the surrealism was applied here-- seemed like it was already too much one way to change into another by the time that it was introduced. I was less than convinced by the ending, and perhaps even a little disappointed. Still, better than much that is out there and well worth the time to read. I am going to try Wind-Up Bird Chronicle next.
Most recent customer reviews
About three-fourths of the way through the book the magical realism kicks in.Read more