Book Reviews

Book Review: Sputnik Sweetheart By Haruki Murakami

Sputnik Sweetheart is a classic Murakami tale, with a lot of twists and turns including Murakami’s absolute ingenious trademark.

The story revolves around Sumire. She is an aspiring but struggling writer who meets K in college. They instantly connect and become very close friends since they both enjoy reading. Sumire and K share an unshakable relationship. K loves Sumire and wishes to be with her, but she does not feel the same way about him. Despite this, they have a deep bond that exemplifies what true friendship is all about. When Sumire meets Miu, a successful but mysterious woman, things get even more confusing. Sumire falls in love for the first time as an instant connection develops between them. Sumire and K maintain their friendship despite the additional strain. In the story, we see character changes as a result of emotional anguish and changes in relationships throughout it all.

Right from the start, Sputnik Sweetheart feels different from every other Murakami work I’ve read so far. The reader is given a thorough account of Sumire and K’s relationship. In reality, we are well-versed in Sumire’s character development as a result of her relationship with Miu. As the novel progresses, though, strange fantasy elements about Sumire and Miu begin to emerge. We learn about Miu’s strange past as well as Sumire’s abrupt absence, as we keep reading.  At the same time, the novel shifts from a saga of unrequited love told from two perspectives to a mystery that will leave you wondering what happened and why.

The great sensation of pain and desire that comes with love is perfectly stated. Murakami is able to write beautiful lines that arouse emotions in the reader. Emotions are exposed through his descriptions.   You find yourself experiencing the same emotions as the characters as you read through his chapters.

The emotional sections are both intriguing and lovely at the same time. Murakami encapsulates what it means to be in love in an incredibly sympathetic way, and it’s amazing. Sputnik Sweetheart is worth reading only for the descriptions of love and relationships, whether it’s toward a romantic interest or a close friend and companion – these relations are described in an absolutely fantastic way.

Sputnik Sweetheart, like all of Murakami’s other works, is a compelling and pleasant book. And to mention that it’s relatively short — you won’t be able to put it down until you’ve finished!

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