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[Book] Sputnik Sweetheart by Haruki Murakami


Sputnik sweetheart

Author: Haruki Murakami

My rating: 4/5 (means i like it)

First of all, even me, I hardly believe that I picked this Sputnik Sweetheart next. Couple days ago, I wondered whether I was going to take the Underground or South of the Border, West of the Sun, but wound up reading Sputnik Sweetheart due to its length, and it took me about 2 days to finish.

The more I read Haruki Murakami books, the more I amazed how knowledgeable he is about lots of things. Surely, you have to some of knowledge about things before writing it. It happened to me when I thought about Jeffrey Archer, or Dan Brown, and a lot of other authors. Their works are rich and engrossing me whenever I put my nose into those books.Yes, the title named Sputnik is satellite launched by the Soviet Union. There was two Sputnik sent to orbit and the second which include a dog named Laika being on it. Laika became the first living being to leave the Earth’s atmosphere, but the satellite was never recovered, and Laika ended up sacrificed for the sake of biological research in space. People says Sputnik was about lesbian story, I grant, but it is not the whole story about. The cover looks so sexy but its contain is not weird sexual relationship as other novels. But I am ashamed to admit that the lesbian story is the first one took my attention. C’mon, I am young and curious. Okay, just kidding, but it’s something related on later.

The novel told a story about Sumire who was in love with a woman seventeen years her senior names Miu. But whereas Miu is glamorous and successful, Sumire is an aspiring writer who dresses in an oversized second-hand coat and heavy boots like a character in a Kerouac novel. 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 for her? Meanwhile K wonders whether he should confess his own unrequited love for Sumire. Then, a desperate Miu calls from a small Greek island: Sumire has mysteriously vanished…

The name Sumire related to violet which is one in flag symbol, means “spirit”, and in Japanese it means purity, beauty and lucidity. She was 22 years old when the first time she met Miu on the wedding of her cousin (even it never told her real name).

Surely, there are a lot of metaphors that stuck in my mind in this novel. I think about how Sumire couldn’t make it in her writing career and K told her that she had to cut dog’s throats, shed their blood, to sacrify for something…and maybe when she met Miu, she changed. She couldn’t write anything, she changed her style in dressing, and the most important thing to her that was she fell in love and have sexual desire with some one else, and (sadly) it’s a woman. When Miu refused Sumire, she lost. I haven’t comprehended what she disappear is all about. She told us about her cats which vanished out of blue, perhaps she did the thing like them. If someone asks me what I think about Sumire, I can tell them that she is a pure, innocent, wild kid and craving love in this lonely world, like Miu and K.

So, what did I think about Miu? She is also a special person, a talent pianist in the young age. But suddenly, an accident happened, she changed altogether. The story about Miu is really crept me out like hell. She was stuck in the ferries wheel and saw her splitting into two part, over there is having sex with the old man named Ferdinando in her own appartment. She witnessed such scence by herself via binoculars and where? in the desert gondola. That really made her feel disgusted and I was at shocked. She even can’t believe what was happening and couldn’t quite remember what occured afterward. She ended up bruising and blooding after people found out her being a lone in that gondola in the park of Switzerland. And what did she discover about herself after that? Her hair died and turned into pure white one.  She changed completely. She lost her interested in playing piano and have never touched the key ever since. She even couldn’t love some one else.

I was amazed by the color of her hair and and found out this picture and really love it. You can found out it in here

Credit to: ordinaryduck.wordpress.com

I have been contemplating and imagining what happen if I picture myself split into two pieces, and I was shocked by the fact that I have ever been in that circumstance once in a while before. What did I see? I heard my words which was come out from my mouth but I felt it’s belong to someone else. I was even frightened by taking that scenes over and over in my mind.

“I have this strange feeling that I’m not myself anymore. It’s hard to put into words, but I guess it’s like I was fast asleep, and someone came, disassembled me, and hurriedly put me back together again. That sort of feeling.”

So, the most question for all of the reader is where did Sumire go? I love the idea about dream where the black hair Miu love Sumire and they can live happily forever. That’s perhap the place that they will not feel the pain, the loneliness.

“In dreams you don’t need to make any distinctions between things. Not at all. Boundaries don’t exist. So in dreams there are hardly ever collisions. Even if there are, they don’t hurt. Reality is different. Reality bites. Reality, reality.”

The last character that I want to put my words into is character K, who is the narator in this novel. He is a teacher in a primary school. He had a love affair with the mother of his student. I don’t know how to say about him even he is the third main character. When I recall all of the impression I think about this novel, nothing related to K, perhap the only things left about him is his lonesome feeling.

This woman loved Sumire, but couldn’t feel any sexual desire for her. Sumire loved this woman and desired her. I loved Sumire and felt sexual desire for her. Sumire liked me, but didn’t love me, and didn’t feel any desire for me. I felt sexual desire for a woman who will remain anonymous. But I didn’t love her. It was all so complicated, like something out of an existential play. Everything hit a dead end there, no alternatives left.

Besides, I would like to share some thoughts about the little kid named Carrot, who is the son of the woman with whom K slept. He reminds me about Sumire a lot. A pure, innocent kid but lonely in this world. Why did he steal on the shop? I wonder if the sexual orientation of him will change someday or he will became some one like Sumire. And I wondered why he did like that? Whether he discovered the love affair between his mother and his teacher (character K)? It might be. And I like the idea about “subtle emotion imbalance”.

“I’m speaking as a teacher here,” I replied, “but especially with children, habitual shoplifting is not so much a criminal act as the result of a subtle emotional imbalance. Maybe if I’d paid a little more attention I would have noticed something. I fell down on the job, definitely. But with emotionally disturbed children there’s not always something outward to go on. If you separate the act from everything else and punish the child, the basic problem isn’t going to be cured. Unless you find the fundamental cause and treat that, the same problem will surface later on in a different form. Often children are trying to send a message by shoplifting, so even if it isn’t the most efficient way of handling the problem, it’s important to take the time to talk things out.”

This novel told a lesbian story for sure, but it’s not like the another. I have ever read some books/novel about same sex or at least browsed and searched for some information. It would be the struggle or obstacles of those two in the real world that has still been barely accepted by this society. No, it is not that. If you keep thinking this is a decent lesbian story, so it would be too trashy and I would throw them away.

There are alot of another things that I’d like to share but are not able to recall it. On top of that, I don’t understand the metaphor about Miu’s father’s statue in the village. The dream of Sumire as she wrote them down. The story about the cats eat the woman…

What impressed me? I tried my best to write them down in this review. Perhaps someday, when I want to re-read this book, hopefully, I can understand it more.


4 comments on “[Book] Sputnik Sweetheart by Haruki Murakami

  1. matt
    February 21, 2015

    It’s too late in Vietnam, so even though there are a lot of mistakes, I have to hang in there.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Book lists on 2015 [Update] | Kate's Blog

  3. Pingback: [Short story] Yesterday by Haruki Murakami | Kate's Blog

  4. thebookchiefblog
    March 28, 2018

    Great review. I had the same trouble with this book. So many great things to say, so much about it that I ‘nearly’ understand but can’t put into words…this is what Murakami seems to be great at. I loved reading this though and couldn’t put it down.


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This entry was posted on February 21, 2015 by in Book Reviews and tagged , , , , , , .

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