Nov 18, 2007

[Books] Sputnik Sweetheart

Sputnik SweetheartI'm a major fan of the writings of Haruki Murakami, although I read most titles before I started the Geeky Guide, hence the lack of reviews.

Over the years I've pretty much collected most if not all of his works of fiction, although I've yet to have the chance to actually read them just yet. Thus why I'm it's only now that I'm reviewing this title, Sputnik Sweetheart, even though it's been around for quite some time.

It's not my favorite book of Murakami's thus far, but it certainly holds its own against other authors. It may really depend on your tastes.

Sputnik Sweetheart is a book all about relationships. You have Sumire who has just realized that she's fallen in love with another woman, Miu. The narrator, K, is Sumire's best and is in love with her but cannot tell her this. In the meantime, K, a schoolteacher, is sleeping with the mother of one of his students. All things change when K receives a surprise call from Miu from a small Greek island to tell him Sumire has gone missing.

Now this piece is not a long one - it's only 16 chapters long across 229 pages (at least for my version), and surprisingly it takes a fair amount of time to really build up. Then again, maybe that's the desired pace of the book. Either way, it took me a long time to finish it since it wasn't quite hooking my interests.

I guess the challenge lies in the fact that normally Murakami has such amazingly surreal characters introduced very early on so they in turn drive the story. In this case they're just people and you don't really learn a lot about them in the course of things and its their relationships and the interconnections between them that really drive things.

One thing I have to say for the book is that when it hits Chapters 11 and 12, I was totally floored. That's the kind of writing that makes me love Murakami so much and in many ways many of Sumire's thoughts on writing reflect my own, which is probably why I relate so much. The book ends on an odd note, something that is somewhat typical of his novels. You usually get this feeling that his stories always end somewhat reluctantly, as if it's a struggle to pull away from these characters and thus there's bound to be even more happening beyond the horizon. Only our imaginations can try and fill up the missing spaces based on our imagination and speculations.

It takes a special kind of writer to make you want to figure out what happens after the story ends.

This was a nice title but not quite an easy read. There are better examples of Murakami's abilities although this one does give you insight into his grasp of relationships and more of his unique style of prose.

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