Sputnik Sweetheart is another great example of the brilliance of Haruki Murakami: a short novel that sucks you in from the very beginning and doesn’t let you go until the last page. It is one of those books where little seems to actually happen, but in the minds of the characters, lives are lived and worlds are changed.
K, a college student, has fallen in love with Sumire. She is everything to him, and he cherishes every moment they share together. They are both writers; she a complex messy one that engulfs her entire life. In his heart, he knows they will never be together, but still he continues to hope, and any time spent together he enjoys to its fullest. Then she tells him of someone she has met, Miu, a middle-aged woman who has captured her heart, much in the same way Sumire has captured K’s. The she goes on a business trip with Miu that turns into a vacation in Greece on a small island. K goes about his life until he receives the disturbing call from Miu still in Greece. He flies to the island eventually finds Miu only to discover that Sumire has vanished into thin air. All she has left behind are some very personal writing pieces.
Sputnik Sweetheart is the sort of book that continues to pull you down into deeper levels, as you contemplate what is happening and what it means; there is little use in searching for a “why” as Murakami’s journeys are not about that. The human psyche is not logical and straightforward, but it is a voyage you will not soon forget.
Originally written on February 20, 2013 ©Alex C. Telander.
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