Book Review: Sputnik Sweetheart by Haruki Murakami



Sumire is in love with a woman seventeen years her senior. 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. (via Goodreads)


After reading Wind Up Chronicle Bird and Norwegian Wood, I told myself I had to read a few more of Murakami works before finally deciding if I liked his style of writing. As my third book, I picked up Sputnik Sweetheart. 

Intrigued by the mix of mystery and romance, I thought this was one of his books that would be easier to understand. Of course, I was wrong. As much as I am beginning to admire his work, somehow Murakami’s works are best read twice (maybe thrice) while alone in the dark. I don’t know, maybe his works are just too deep for me but thankfully I persisted.

Even if I had a hard time understanding everything the first time around, this book is really one for keeps. Told from the point of view of K, Sumire’s friend, it is all about unrequited love.

Murakami has succeeded in making his readers feel the gut wrenching emotions brought about by love that can never be reciprocated. From K’s love and lust for Sumire to Sumire’s love and admiration for Miu, this book really made me feel the pain of having to love someone completely yet never having the possibility of being with them and sharing a future together. It is in these moments when Murakami made me feel so vulnerable and when his writing made me question life and its ways. How can love, maybe even true love, be so close and yet so far?

The added touch of mystery in the book was perfectly told. Sumire vanishing definitely added a twist to things. But typical of Murakami’s works, there is always a sense of confusion where readers can put in their own interpretation of how things ended up that way.

There are a lot of questions that came to me after reading this book. A lot of what-ifs and what happened with’s. Where did Sumire go? What happened with Miu? What was so special about that island in Greece? What if Sumire just accepted K’s love? I don’t know if I will ever find the answer for it but I have my own take on things which gives much more sense to things.

Overall, if you want to read an emotional book with a lot of unrequited love and a hint of mystery, this book is for you. You will surely feel raw and full of emotions after reading it.


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