Sputnik Sweetheart – Haruki Murakami

Sputnik Sweetheart haruki murakami

“We’re both looking at the same moon, in the same world. We’re connected to reality by the same line. All I have to do is quietly draw it towards me.”

I had never heard of Murakami until my leaving party at my first ever proper job. I was moving away, and it was a sad goodbye to a group of people I loved. One man who worked from home (so I had not got to know very well) gave me this book as a gift. I was very touched and began to read with interest.

This is truly one of the most curious books I have ever read. I finished with a multitude of questions which I know will never be answered.

We follow K, a simple man evocative of many other Murakami characters (particularly from Norwegian Wood), who is hopelessly in love with Sumire. The love seems to be unrequited- or certainly, if it is returned, it is not sexual – and the novel perfectly evokes this yearning.

When Sumire disappears under mysterious circumstances, the yearning grows stronger. Of course, it all seems to be a metaphor – perhaps Sumire had just distanced herself from K’s life – but still, I am in love with the way Murakami so effortlessly picks you up and places you in the head of his heros.

A beautiful book.

8.5/10

Sputnik Sweetheart

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Norwegian Wood – Haruki Murakami

Murakami Norwegian wood

“When it’s raining like this,” said Naoko, “it feels as if we’re the only ones in the world. I wish it would just keep raining so the three of us could stay together.”

Murakami needs no introduction. If you have read none of his work yet, then change this right now. Order a copy of one of (any of) his books and get reading.

I first fell in love with Murakami when a colleague gave me a copy of Sputnik Sweetheart. The novel filled me with confusion and left me with unanswered questions for weeks. I still think about it now.

Norwegian Wood is a very different story. On the surface, it is less complex – it left me with fewer sleepless nights – but still deals with hugely complex themes.

The main characters are trying to fling themselves into adulthood, whilst still reeling from the loss (by suicide) of a friend and lover. Murakami deals with mental illness and depression with great compassion, whilst not shying away from the horror it can bring. We never learn why the friend committed suicide – he is a popular, bright and loved individual; or at least, that is how he is viewed by his friend.

Every time I read Murakami, I am left with more questions than when I started, but this book left me considering, particularly in light of our modern world and the image we portray on social media, how easy it can be to hide struggles from those we are closest too.

This book is by no means an easy read, but I would say it is a necessary one.

10/10

Norwegian Wood