- Paperback: 210 pages
- Publisher: Vintage; Reprint edition (April 9, 2002)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0375726055
- ISBN-13: 978-0375726057
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 181 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #53,326 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Sputnik Sweetheart: A Novel Paperback – April 9, 2002
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An Amazon Book with Buzz: "Ghosted"
Seven perfect days. Then he disappeared. A love story with a secret at its heart. Learn more
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“Grabs you from its opening lines. . . . [Murakami’s] never written anything more openly emotional.” –Los Angeles Magazine
“Murakami is a genius.” –Chicago Tribune
“Murakami has an unmatched gift for turning psychological metaphors into uncanny narratives.” –The New York Times Book Review
“An agonizing, sweet story about the power and the pain of love. . . . Immensely deepened by perfect little images that leave much to be filled in by the reader’s heart or eye.” –The Baltimore Sun
“[Murakami belongs] in the topmost rank of writers of international stature.” –Newsday
“Murakami’s true achievement lies in the humor and vision he brings to even the most despairing moments.” –The New Yorker
“Perhaps better than any contemporary writer, [Murakami] captures and lays bare the raw human emotion of longing.” –BookPage
“Murakami . . . has a deep interest in the alienation of self, which lifts [Sputnik Sweetheart] into both fantasy and philosophy.” –San Francisco Chronicle
“Not just a great Japanese writer but a great writer, period.” –Los Angeles Times Book Review
From the Inside Flap
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 "K," falls in love with his classmate, Sumire. But devotion to an untidy writerly life precludes her from any personal commitments-until she meets Miu, an older and much more sophisticated businesswoman. When Sumire disappears from an island off the coast of Greece, "K" 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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The interesting title derives from the one of the triade of central characters to remember the difference between “Sputnik” and “Beatnik”. There is great romantic love between,among the male narrator and the two women but a great deal of the dramatic tension is based on which if any of the members of this triangle will ever declare or act upon their love for either of the other.
As is usual in Murakami books the narrator is a nameless male. He is employed (a grade school teacher) even if he never seems to do much except be available for his younger college friend Sumire. While she is described as a previously un-romantic and socially disassociated soul. The book begins with the announcement that love has entered her life in a single moment “A veritable tornado sweeping across the plains, flattening everything in its path tossing things up in the air, ripping them to shred, crushing them to bits. “ She has fallen in love with a person 17 years her senior, married and female. So much for the first two paragraphs.
This is not a classic Murakami combination, but we will find a number of his usual conventions, tropes and assorted accoutrements. The woman with money and time to burn. European classical music, the aforesaid nameless detached narrator, the face in the crowd and late in the book, magical realism.
I did not dislike this book, only because I already liked Muri kami. I was enjoying what looked to be him applying his stable of effects without reference to any through the looking glass tricks. And yet that is where we arrive. Who are these people on this side and who are they on that side and what happened if the trick is to take the road not taken, except what happens to those we leave behind? These are all worthy questions and the kinds of questions that make for great literature. Sputnik Sweetheart got confused along way.
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.
Like a orbiting satellite, the characters constantly yearn and never really make contact with what drives them forward.
Most recent customer reviews
About three-fourths of the way through the book the magical realism kicks in.Read more