Book: Sputnik Sweetheart
Author: Haruki Murakami
Translator: Philip Gabriel
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Sputnik Sweetheart by Haruki Murakami
Haruki Murakami, (born in 1949) is a best-selling Japanese writer. He is a novelist, short story writer, essayist whose works are translated into 50 languages. He received many awards and applauds. he is famous for his surrealistic interplay of characters and emotions. Magic realism is one of his unique and distinct features of writing.
Murakami’s first novel was Hear the Wind Sing (1979). A Wild Sheep Chase (1982), became his first major international success. His other notable works are: Pinball, Norwegian Wood, Hard-Boiled Wonderland, Dance, Dance, Dance, After Dark, Kafka on the Shore, 1Q84 etc.
Introduction to Sputnik Sweetheart:
Like Norwegian Wood, this novel by Murakami is also cobbled with Tangled emotions of love and passion and search. And most surprisingly or languidly both the novels end with the phone calls as if connecting the threads of the human psyche and external stimuli.
Haruki Murakami’s novel Sputnik Sweetheart was published in Japan in 1999. The English translation by Philip Gabriel was published in 2001.
Before writing any review it is my general trend to jot down the storyline first and then the characters. But in Haruki Murakami’s Sputnik Sweetheart the characters are needed to be introduced first for a better understanding of the story.
1. The narrator:
It’s time to say a few words about myself. Of course, this story is about Sumire, not me. Still, I’m the one whose eyes the story is told through—the tale of who Sumire is and what she did—and I should explain a little about the narrator. Me, in other words.
The novel is narrated from the perspective of K. K is a school teacher of 25 years who is in love with Sumire whom he describes throughout the novel. Though his love is unrequited his silent adoration and support never tilted for that.
He started college and lived by himself in a small apartment. His home was in Tsudanuma but he hardly ever had a heart-to-heart conversation with his family.
“We lived together under one roof, but my parents and sister were like strangers to me, and I had no idea what they wanted from life. And the same held true for them—they didn’t have any idea what kind of person I was or what I aspired to.”
He was a carefree guy who did not possess a high ambition in his life. In his leisure time, he used to read novels and play football.
Though he could not express his love for her, their friendship was unbeatable. He didn’t hide his affairs from Sumire. But the most confusing part of it was his affairs with women who were older and married or had fiancés or steady boyfriends. His most recent partner was the mother of one of my pupils.
In Japan Sumire means ‘Violet’. In her life, till she met Miu, her only passion was to be a novelist. ” Her resolve was a regular rock of Gibraltar. Nothing could come between her and her faith in literature.” She and K were college friends. But while K proceeds in his academics Sumire left college to fully involve herself in her passion. She feels that staying longer in that course means just a waste of time with the second rate specimens, the students. But despite all these K was her staunch supporter and lover. He loves and admires her unconditionally, her habit of incessant talking in a familiar subject or not talking at all, smoking too much. She was born and raised in Japan and studied at a music academy in France. She was well efficient in Japanese, English and French.