Saturday, July 2, 2011

Sputnik Sweetheart

"I dream. Sometimes I think that's the only right thing to do."

My first encounter with Haruki Murakami happened years ago, when I was offered two of his books, "The Elephant Vanishes" and "A Wild Sheep Chase". I liked them, but I also found them a bit strange and I wasn't very eager to go back to other works. That was until I decided to read "Norwegian Wood" for The Japanese Literature Challenge (and discovered that there's a Murakami Challenge taking place as well)but things almost never turn out as planned, so I started reading "Sputnik Sweetheart" instead and I was MESMERIZED. Sure, different times, different self, but what an incredible writer I have rediscovered!!!!

"And it came to me then. That we were wonderful traveling companions but in the end no more than lonely lumps of metal in their own separate orbits. From far off they look like beautiful shooting stars, but in reality they're nothing more than prisons, where each of us is locked up alone, going nowhere. When the orbits of these two satellites of ours happened to cross paths, we could be together. Maybe even open our hearts to each other. But that was only for the briefest moment. In the next instant we'd be in absolute solitude. Until we burned up and became nothing."

Murakami's writing is quite different from that of a European writer and the way he takes you into the story and leaves you to wander between the real and the surreal is truly unique.
The story is about Sumire, a twenty two year old girl, with plans to become a (famous) writer and K., her best friend and madly in love with Sumire but whose love is never returned. Once Sumire meets Miu, a sophisticated businesswoman, the plot starts to develop and we find Sumire drawn towards Miu, while K. is the spectator of their (strange) relationship. The love traingle turns into a mystery when Sumire suddenly disappears on a Greek island and Miu calls K. to help find her. This is the moment when K. discovers things "out of this world" about Miu and a possible answer to Sumire's disappearance.

"So that's how we live our lives. No matter how deep and fatal the loss, no matter how important the thing that's stolen from us--that's snatched right out of our hands--even if we are left completely changed, with only the outer layer of skin from before, we continue to play out our lives this way, in silence. We draw ever nearer to the end of our allotted span of time, bidding it farewell as it trails off behind. Repeating, often adroitly, the endless deeds of the everyday. Leaving behind a feeling of immeasurable emptiness."

Murakami gave the story such a surprising ending when six months later Sumire calls just to say “Hey, I’m back. Come and get me.”, then the phone cuts off. Is it a hallucination or Sumire is really back, and back from where exactly?
I found the whole story intriguing and it left me thinking if such things are possible... What things? Well, you'll have to read the novel if you want to know more.:)

"The answer is dreams. Dreaming on and on. Entering the world of dreams and never coming out. Living in dreams for the rest of time."


Colleen said...

I'm a big fan of this novel too. I imagine you will also like South of the Border, West of the Sun. :)

Ally said...

I have that book as well, I will read it soon :) Thanks for passing by! :)

parrish lantern said...

am a big fan of this writer & did enjoy this book, although I prefer The Elephant Vanishes.

Ally said...

I have read The Elephant Vanishes :) It was my first encounter with Murakami, and it felt bizarre, so maybe that's why it took me years to get back to him and get addicted...