Monday, 25 May 2015

#am reading Sputnik Sweetheart

Author: Haruki Murakami

Tags: #japan #greece #unrequitedlove

Discovered: Working my way through the Murakami canon

Where read: (in part) Old Town, Margate, Kent.

What's the story?
Sumire is a bookish and awkward student desperately in love with Miu, a woman 17 years her senior. Sumire's college friend K looks on longing for Summer to return his wasted affections. When Sumire disappears whilst working as personal assistant to Miu on a Greek Island K travels from Japan to find her and bring her home.  

The Word's Shortlist view:
Sputnik Sweetheart is a short and simple story, by Muramaki standards, which was published in between his more famous classics The Wind up Bird Chronicle and Kafka on the Shore. Slender though the book may be this novel still manages to pack all the typical Murakami elements.

The title of the book refers to the loneliness and isolation of an orbiting satellite and illustrates the key themes of the story well. Both K and Sumire are trapped by a deep unrequited love that Murakami's curt and confined writing style perfectly captures. Murakami tends to write with male narrators so the two female protagonists, Sumire and Miu, are refreshingly different. After Dark also features strong female leads.

The reason I return again and again to Murakami is the way he captures characters and places in a fictional world that is both recognisable and alien simultaneously. The more you read, the more compelling this world is and the more you understand the fanatical global following Murakami generates. This novel may just leave you with more questions than answers but could be the perfect introduction to the genre and ideal pre-read before weightier tomes like IQ84.

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I'm about $3.7m short to buy this house  @GuardianBooks #gatsby

'That book guy', tweeting mainly about fiction and reading but with occasional sidebars into art, Japanese culture and architecture

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