Book Review: Sputnik Sweetheart

Author: Haruki Murakami
Title: Sputnik Sweetheart
Call no: MUR
Genres: Fiction

Sputnik Sweetheart is another novel that has Haruki Murakami’s signature of questioning dreams and reality in the real world. It explores how misfits live in a conformist society and how others who wish to follow their dreams often had to give up on them only to live the same life as everyone else.

The story is told in a first person perspective by the main protagonist’s best friend K, he brings light to Sumire, a girl who lives her life without regards to the society’s system. After quitting college to pursue her passion for writing novels, she found herself unable to portray the worlds she had in mind into words. Losing her mother at a young age and her quiet father rarely offer the love she craves, Sumire never focused on relationships and was told by K that she lacks experiences in life.

Soon after, K heard from Sumire that she is in love with a woman who is seventeen years older. Miu is a successful business woman whereas Sumire lives alone writing novels but never publishing them. Not knowing K’s love for her, Sumire seeks help from K to discuss her unexpected desires towards her new employer Miu.

K, devastated by the news, finds temporary comfort from an affair with his student’s mother. One day he received an oversea call of help from Miu and set about to find Sumire who has gone missing after confessing her love to Miu. Unable to find Sumire, K was forced to return to work with Miu’s promise to update him of any progress.

This novel does not offer a clear ending but instead pushes one to question about life. Should one live freely and pursue one’s dreams or modify oneself for survival in society? Is there no other way but to conform to the system? What ultimately happen to those who don’t conform?

Source: PPC volunteer L. L.