Image from Fantastic Fiction
This book was read as part of the Haruki Murakami Reading Challenge.
Synopsis (from Amazon)
Twenty two year old, Sumire is in love for the first time with a woman seventeen years her senior. But, whereas Miu is a glamorous and successful older woman with a taste for classical music and fine wine, Sumire is an aspiring writer who dresses in an oversized second hand coat and heavy boots like a character in a Jack Kerouac novel. Surprised that she might, after all, be a lesbian, Sumire spends hours on the phone talking to her best friend, K about the big questions in life: what is sexual desire and should she ever tell Miu how she feels about her? K, a primary school teacher, is used to answering questions, but what he most wants to say to Sumire is “I love you.” He consoles himself by having an affair with the mother of one of his pupils. But, when a desperate Miu calls him out of the blue from a sunny Greek island and asks for his help, he soon discovers that all is not as it seems and something very strange has happened to Sumire.
Wow 3 reviews in 3 days, must be some sort of record for me! I must say I loved Sputnik Sweetheart. It seemed to bridge that gap between the more ‘normal’ books by Murakami, like ‘Norwegian Wood’
, and the more surreal of his novels, like ‘The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle
Initially the situation in Sputnik Sweetheart seemed pretty normal, a sort of twisted romance story. Boy (K) loves girl (Sumire), girl loves other girl (Miu), other girl is married but has never been in love. Not sure if you would call that a love triangle or what! After a while things began to get a little strange (just like the Murakami I know and love). Sumire and Miu go to Greece and after a few days K gets a phone call from Miu, a woman he has never met, saying that something has happened to Sumire. From then on things just get stranger and stranger. I really liked the surrealism in this book but it wasn’t overwhelming as it is in some of Murakami’s other books. This aspect did make it an easier and less confusing read but also meant it didn’t stick with me in the same way Kafka on the Shore
did (for example). [highlight for spoiler]I do wonder what happened to Sumire, she does seem to have just disappeared without a trace, and did K ever recieve a phonecall from her or was it just the way his mind was working or a strange dream? If she did go to a dream world (hey anything is possible when it comes to Murakami) did she meet the other side of Miu there? And whatever happened to her cat!Oh and what happened to Carrot, what was that bit even about!
The language was still beautiful but maybe a bit more simple. That’s part of the reason I think this one would make a good introduction to Murakami, along with it’s less in your face surrealism. It still has an aspect of surrealism which would give a hint but not so much it makes it a challenge to read.
Also really appreciated the book references in this one.
Not my favourite but still loved it.