This title isn’t available with your membership

We’re working with the publisher to make it available as soon as possible. If you’d like to read it immediately, you can purchase this title individually.

Request Title
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.
Published: Random House Publishing Group on May 22, 2001
ISBN: 9780375413469
List price: $11.99
Read on Scribd mobile: iPhone, iPad and Android.
Availability for Sputnik Sweetheart
Available as a separate purchase
  1. This book can be read on up to 6 mobile devices.
Clear rating

This is another poignant and unique offering from Murakami. I love his writing and the translations read well (although as to their accuracy I cannot testify, being less than fluent in Japanese!). I certainly won't talk too much about the plot as, for me, each Murakami novel needs to be approached for the first time without preconceived ideas. This is, on the surface, a simple tale of unrequited love. The narrator, a male teacher, in love with his friend, a girl. She, in turn, is in love with a sophisticated older woman she met at a wedding and continued on to work for. As usual, Murakami's treatment of love is subtle, poignant and tasteful.This is where the book begins to depart from the norm. With a backdrop of normality, Murakami introduces his own 'magic' storylines that depart from reality but remain very real to the reader. It is very alien to the western mind - there is something very Japanese about it, in a similar spirit to Miyazaki's animation and completely apart from any flights of fancy I've come across in western writing. The reader is left to put their own interpretation on the events of the novel and choose how far to take Murakami's description of events as literal.In translated novels, you are so dependent on the translator's skill to let you appreciate the flair and language of the original. Read in translation, this book carried a depth of language and richness of evocative description, both of places and emotions. It reads well and in an unstilted manner. How closely this matched the sense of the original I cannot say, but I believe that anyone skilled enough to translate something that reads so well in English will have been true to the author's original words.I would certainly recommend this highly and would suggest that even if you are a reader who prefers to read more literal novels, it is worth giving Murakami a try. It might surprise you!read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
This was the first Murakami novel I read and it remains, thus far, my favourite. It's funny, it's poignant, and everything works despite Murakami's trademark surrealism. Even Murakami’s frequent name dropping of writers, musicians, or whatever, doesn’t feel unnecessary here given the young, trendy characters the story revolves around. There are similarities to Norwegian Wood but Sputnik Sweetheart is a similar story told far better in my opinion.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
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.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Read all reviews

Reviews

This is another poignant and unique offering from Murakami. I love his writing and the translations read well (although as to their accuracy I cannot testify, being less than fluent in Japanese!). I certainly won't talk too much about the plot as, for me, each Murakami novel needs to be approached for the first time without preconceived ideas. This is, on the surface, a simple tale of unrequited love. The narrator, a male teacher, in love with his friend, a girl. She, in turn, is in love with a sophisticated older woman she met at a wedding and continued on to work for. As usual, Murakami's treatment of love is subtle, poignant and tasteful.This is where the book begins to depart from the norm. With a backdrop of normality, Murakami introduces his own 'magic' storylines that depart from reality but remain very real to the reader. It is very alien to the western mind - there is something very Japanese about it, in a similar spirit to Miyazaki's animation and completely apart from any flights of fancy I've come across in western writing. The reader is left to put their own interpretation on the events of the novel and choose how far to take Murakami's description of events as literal.In translated novels, you are so dependent on the translator's skill to let you appreciate the flair and language of the original. Read in translation, this book carried a depth of language and richness of evocative description, both of places and emotions. It reads well and in an unstilted manner. How closely this matched the sense of the original I cannot say, but I believe that anyone skilled enough to translate something that reads so well in English will have been true to the author's original words.I would certainly recommend this highly and would suggest that even if you are a reader who prefers to read more literal novels, it is worth giving Murakami a try. It might surprise you!
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
This was the first Murakami novel I read and it remains, thus far, my favourite. It's funny, it's poignant, and everything works despite Murakami's trademark surrealism. Even Murakami’s frequent name dropping of writers, musicians, or whatever, doesn’t feel unnecessary here given the young, trendy characters the story revolves around. There are similarities to Norwegian Wood but Sputnik Sweetheart is a similar story told far better in my opinion.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
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.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
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.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
I'm pretty sure this is not REALLY Murakami's best novel. But you know how it is, sometimes a book comes along at just the right time and just..."speaks to you" sounds so corny, but something like that. "Sputnik Sweetheart" pushed all the right buttons for me, right now.It is in a way a classic love triangle. K, our narrator, loves kooky, messy would-be author Sumire. She, however, just thinks he's the best friend ever (hello, my teenage years) and besides, she's pretty certain she can't fall in love anyway. Until she does, with Miu, a 17 years older businesswoman. Who in turn thinks Sumire is great, but can't love her. Sumire starts working for Miu, stops writing and the two women go on a business trip to Europe, which transforms into a holiday in Greece. From which Miu calls K in distress. Sumire has disappeared from the face of the earth, without a single trace.Murakami again pulls off a seamless travel from realism into something very different. You hardly notice how things are beginning to tilt, and before you know it you accept a tale like the spectacular one about Miu and the Ferris wheel (which cannot be related without spoling it) as normal.But what stays with me here is manly the relationships between these people, the distinct feeling they all share that something is LACKING in human nature, that you can be just as alone in a room full of people and the fear that it might be impossible to know someone for real. K, especially, is very relateable to me, in a bittersweet way. This book, at this time in my life, filled me with melancholy and wonder. It will linger for along time.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
As far as Murakami books go, this one was just "OK". His other works are generally much better.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Load more
scribd