Sputnik Sweetheart by Haruki Murakami

Although I didn’t have many expectations going into this book, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it. I read Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami not long ago and although I enjoyed it, I was a bit underwhelmed by the story. The same cannot be said about Sputnik Sweetheart; this book ended up being what I hoped Norwegian Wood would be.

The story is told through the eyes of K as he recounts the events of Sumire going missing. K is also deeply in love with Sumire, but she does not feel the same way; rather than loving K, Sumire falls for another woman.

This story is very character driven rather than plot driven, which works perfectly for the story. I was so absorbed into the book because the characters, although nothing special at first glance, were very interesting to read about as they faced internal struggles and developed as characters.

K, the narrator, may easily be looked over at first, but I found him to be the perfect person to hear the story from. His longing for Sumire throughout the story adds a deeply personal touch to the entire book. His view is also relevant because although Sumire does not love him back, K remains close friends with Sumire. This allows the narration to have a good connection to Sumire’s personality as the plot develops.

The overall plot of the book may seem mundane or unoriginal, but it is not the slight mystery or plot itself that makes this story so enticing but rather the unrequited love seen through multiple perspectives. The yearning within the characters is so well developed that even when there is not a lot happening in the story, you can still feel for the characters. The book is relatively short, but it does not need to be longer to be properly executed. The story has been told; not one of a girl going missing but rather of human longing.

-Calvin H.

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