Sputnik Sweetheart – Haruki Murakami
August 27, 2009 § 19 Comments
Why do people have to be this lonely?
The book is about the relationship between three people: Sumire – a 22-year old girl who doesn’t want to do anything but write novels for a living, the person she falls in love with, Miu – a married woman who experienced something when she was younger that changed her entire life, and the first person protagonist – only referred to once as K, a 24-year old teacher who loves Sumire, but can’t have her.
The plot of the story is an intriguing one. Sumire finds herself caught in a tornado when she meets Miu for the first time and falls head-over-heels in love. She tells this to K, who happens to be the one and only friend she has. Then suddenly, Sumire disappears.
The story is told from K’s perspective, and so it is only understandable that there are parts of the story that seem disjointed. K’s main concern is what happened to Sumire, but because he doesn’t know, the reader doesn’t either. What we do get, is a glimpse of what K thinks, what he imagines, and what he feels and experiences during his time spent with Sumire, while looking for Sumire, and after he has given up looking for her.
For me, a sense of overwhelming loneliness was found throughout the book. It was like the characters had this special bond to each other, and yet they were alone in this world. Sumire had only K for a friend, and yet she had her own life to live, her own world to disappear into.
Being alone is like the feeling you get when you stand at the mouth of a large river on a rainy evening and watch the water flow into the sea.
It’s a quiet feeling, but one that takes over your entire mind and body, one so strong that all you can do when the feeling comes is let it sweep you off your feet, let it take control of you, and flow with it.
Compared with Dance Dance Dance, this book is more fast-paced, more gripping. It explored, I think, a wider range of feelings, and dived deeper into the realm of emotions. It can be quite easy to feel vulnerable, even though Murakami isn’t writing about you, you almost feel like it’s you who has had your feelings revealed.
This book is another easy favourite. It’s the kind where you start reading, and never feel like putting down. Time doesn’t even seem to go by while reading it, and yet when you suddenly look up, hours have passed you by and dawn is nearing.
Conclusion: 5/5, definitely. I now can’t wait to start on After Dark. I read a review somewhere, saying that the best time to read After Dark is when it really is after dark. I’ll be keeping one of my weekend nights free for this.