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P. 1
Sputnik Sweetheart

Sputnik Sweetheart

Ratings:

3.76

(1,315)
|Views: 583|Likes:
Haruki Murakami, the internationally bestselling author of Norwegian Wood and The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, plunges us into an urbane Japan of jazz bars, coffee shops, Jack Kerouac, and the Beatles to tell this story of a tangled triangle of uniquely unrequited loves.A college student, identified only as “K,” falls in love with his classmate, Sumire. But devotion to an untidy writerly life precludes her from any personal commitments–until she meets Miu, an older and much more sophisticated businesswoman. When Sumire disappears from an island off the coast of Greece, “K” is solicited to join the search party and finds himself drawn back into her world and beset by ominous, haunting visions. A love story combined with a detective story, Sputnik Sweetheart ultimately lingers in the mind as a profound meditation on human longing.
Haruki Murakami, the internationally bestselling author of Norwegian Wood and The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, plunges us into an urbane Japan of jazz bars, coffee shops, Jack Kerouac, and the Beatles to tell this story of a tangled triangle of uniquely unrequited loves.A college student, identified only as “K,” falls in love with his classmate, Sumire. But devotion to an untidy writerly life precludes her from any personal commitments–until she meets Miu, an older and much more sophisticated businesswoman. When Sumire disappears from an island off the coast of Greece, “K” is solicited to join the search party and finds himself drawn back into her world and beset by ominous, haunting visions. A love story combined with a detective story, Sputnik Sweetheart ultimately lingers in the mind as a profound meditation on human longing.

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Publish date: May 22, 2001
Added to Scribd: Sep 06, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercialISBN:9780375413469
List Price: $11.99 Buy Now

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04/12/2014

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9780375413469

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kristysp reviewed this
Rated 3/5
There really is no experience like a Murakami novel. He is his own thing.

I thought this one was extra melancholy. I liked it alright, but I didn't like the main character at all. He gave me the creeps. Maybe you were supposed to dislike him, but I'm not entirely sure....
veracite reviewed this
Rated 3/5
Apparently a great writer. I was all gripped and thrilled and happy reading Sputnik Sweetheart until the end happened and it was so - what? whatever! - I was made all grumpy and sad. The end it makes no sense, but the rest of the book was lovely.
kirstiecat reviewed this
Rated 4/5
I read this for the first time before 1Q84 was released and found it very easily going to the top of the list for favorite Murakami novels. The theme of other selves is very prominent as is other worlds but this is, to my knowledge, the only time Murakami has really explored the erotic love of one woman for another. His books tend to focus on heterosexuals so I found this very interesting.

This is a shorter novel and the ending is somewhat open and enigmatic....I also really love the sense of space and loneliness.


Favorite Quotes


pg. 16 "A story is not something of this world. A real story requires a kind of magical baptism to link the world on this side with the world on the other side."

pg. 21 "Miu hardly ever touched novels. I never can get it out of my mind that it's all made up, she explained, so I just can't feel any empathy for the characters."


pg. 27 "The time of day when the roosters haven't even started crowing. When this pitiful moon is hanging there in the corner of the eastern sky like a used up kidney."

pg. 64 "Her voice was like a line from an old black and white Jean Luc Godard movie, filtering in just beyond the frame of my consciousness."


pg. 67 "There's a great line by Groucho Marx, 'She's so in love with me she doesn't know anything. That's why she's in love with me.'"

pg. 98 "Do you know what 'Sputnik' means in Russian? 'Traveling Companion.' I looked it up in a dictionary not long ago. Kind of a strange coincidence if you think about it. I wonder why the Russians gave their satellite that strange name. It's just a poor little lump of metal, spinning around the earth'"

pg. 117 "Ant it came to me then. That we were wonderful traveling companions but in he end no more than lonely lumps of metal in their own separate orbits. From far off they look like beautiful shooting stars, but in reality they're nothing more than prisons where each of us is locked up alone, going nowhere. When the orbits of these two satellites of ours happened to cross paths, we could be together. Maybe even open our hearts to each other. But that was only for the briefest moment, In the next instant we;d be in absolute solitude. Until we burned up and became nothing."

pg. 133 "Consigning my fate to the clouds."

pg. 136 "I conceive a dream, a sightless fetus called understanding, floating in the universal, overwhelming amniotic fluid of incomprehension. Which must be why my novels are absurdly long and , up till now at least, never reach a proper conclusion."

pg. 143 "Every story has a time to be told, I convinced her. Otherwise, you'll forever be a prisoner to the secret inside you."

pg. 193 "You know what I'd really like to do the most right now? Climb up to the top of some high place like the pyramids. The highest place I can find. Where you can see forever. Stand on the very top, look all around the world, see all the scenery, and see with my own eyes what's been lost from the world. I don't know...Maybe I really don't want to see that. Maybe I don't want to see anything anymore."

pg. 207 "Maybe, in some distant place, everything is already, quietly lost. Or at least there exists a place where everything can disappear, melting together in a single, overlapping figure. And as we live our lives we discover-drawing toward us the thin threads attached to each-what has been lost. I closed my eyes and tried to bring to mind as many beautiful lost things as I could. Drawing them closer, holding on to them Knowing all the while that their lives are fleeting.

mijk_1 reviewed this
Rated 4/5
i enjoyed this much more than i thought i would. Not a lot happens, it's deeply mysterious and draws you in through the sheer ordinary strangeness of the relationships between the characters, which makes it actually seem quite believable even if it is a little cliched in some respects.
alexrichman_1 reviewed this
Rated 2/5
A fine enough love story, with sweet enough characters ... but I was only mildly bothered about what happened to them all. Decent, but very forgettable.
eyejaybee reviewed this
Rated 4/5
Another engaging novel from Haruki Murakami which, like so much of his work, revolves around loss and estrangement. The story is mainly recounted by K, a 25 year old primary school teacher who has an unconsummated passion for Sumire, an unconventional woman whom he knew from university. Sumire is a couple of years younger than K and, as the novel opens, lacks direction in life. She aspires to be a writer but despite producing reams of work has yet to compose anything with which she is satisfied. K is in love with her, almost to the point of obsession but Sumire is unable to reciprocate. She likes K, and places greater trust in him than anyone else, but she is unable to cross the Rubicon and commit herself to him. And then at a family wedding that she reluctantly attends she meets Miu, a woman thirteen years older than herself with whom she falls completely and irreversibly in love.Unaware of the depth of Sumire’s passion, Mui invites her to work in her wine importing business, and this proves to be a great success. Having previously meandered through life with no sense of direction or engagement with the rest of the world Sumire suddenly becomes focused. She starts to take care about her appearance , and applies herself to her work very conscientiously. Unfortunately the price of this reformation is that she finds herself unable to write.Miu has to visit Europe to liaise with some of her wine producers and takes Sumire with her. Having had a great time exploring Rome and then Paris, they are invited to stay on a small Greek island for a few weeks, where things take a dramatic turn.The novel stray into areas with which regular readers of Murakami will be familiar – relationships, loneliness and unconventional friendships – and he handles the various story strands with great facility.
randymetcalfe reviewed this
Rated 4/5
Love, loss, and loneliness combine in this superficially superficial novel. Murakami presents a world of isolated characters on singular trajectories, whose paths sometimes cross but never truly meet. Like the characters themselves, emotions are untethered, emerging as love unrequited, unconnected sexual desire, and an unspecified fear. Only child-like friendship, fiercely loyal, singular, and platonic, seems real, something characters can cling to but, sadly, not build upon. The prose is lithesome, youthful, and unadorned, yet at times almost dreamlike. Sort of a curious combination of Camus and Alain-Fournier. The setting, nominally Japan with a visit to a nameless Greek island, is sprinkled with enough namechecks of world brands such as Amstel, Heineken, Elizabeth Schwarzkopf, that it feels like it could be taking place anywhere, or in keeping with its orbital theme, somewhere high above the earth. Or perhaps we are in a dreamworld, the “other” place that the characters sometimes seek, or fear they have lost themselves to. This is a novel that will prompt new thoughts, but will not settle down into a one-line summary. Highly recommended.
jimelkins reviewed this
Rated 2/5
Murakami is a conventional, late romantic storyteller, with admixtures of surrealism and fantasy. This isn't really a contemporary novel. It uses some devices from short story writing toward the end--little epiphanies, unfinished episodes, evocative vignettes--and it uses some fantasy devices through the middle--Doppelgängers, parallel universes--but it's a traditional love story. The sign that Murakami is basically a mid- or late-twentieth century writer, and not a twenty-first century writer is that his characters all listen to Romantic music (and so, clearly, does the author): Gieseking, Schwarzkopf, Argerich, etc, playing the usual pieces by Beethoven, Liszt, Chopin, etc. This may seem trivial and irrelevant, but it is fundamental. Murakami's palette of emotions is formed by those pieces, those periods and performances. What does it mean to present yourself as a contemporary writer, and find it unproblematic that your emotional imagination is so at home in the 1820s and 1830s (the composers) and the 1970s and 1980s (the performers)?
rbeffa_2 reviewed this
Rated 3/5
Sputnik Sweetheart is an interesting novel from Murakami with three primary characters. I am really having a tough time rating or reviewing this one. I was engaged and interested, but I think it was the central mystery of the story, the disappearance of the narrator's best friend (and secret crush) Sumire that ultimately disappointed me. The documents she left on her laptop should have been the highlight of the story I think, after the buildup, but proved rather unsatisfying. The emotions in this story ring completely true to life and the characters are intriguing, as well as the setting, but I never fell in love with this. I couldn't figure out what was supposed to have happened to Sumire. I don't think the other two main characters, K and Mui figured it out either.
kkisser_1 reviewed this
Rated 4/5
A story of a young teacher in love with his best friend Sumire, who’s in love with another but neither can have what they want. Then one day the teacher is asked to come out to Greece to help in a mystery. The story is a poignant telling of loss, identity, and love beautifully crafted with reflections on magic in the ordinary.

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Sputnik Sweetheart