Considering my enthusiasm for Murakami’s writing, I surprised myself when I realised this is the first book of his that I have read this year and, therefore, the first one to be blogged. Sputnik Sweetheart is a relatively slim volume (c.230 pages) and tells the story of a curious love triangle that is never consumated. On the one hand it is, I suppose, a novel about love and, especially, unrequited love, but as with much of Murakami’s work it speaks much more to contemporary society and, in particular, Japanese society (although Murakami’s Japan is one that very much exists in a global context – this novel, for example, travels betwen Tokyo, Spain, France and a remore and unnamed Greek Island).
Murakami acknowledges a debt to Kafka in his writing and the world he creates is certainly not one bound by rationality or, indeed, reality. Real and surreal worlds collide and co-exist. Sputnik Sweetheart is more firmly located within the real, material world, but even here readers will recognize some of the hallmarks of Murakami’s work. A character looks into her apartment from a distance and sees herself (or a version of herself) making love in the bedroom with a man she is seeking to avoid. Another character disappears into thin air, transported to another dimension, only to reappear some time later. The world of dreams rubs shoulders with the world of action. As ever, the writing is superb and it is a story that will kep you thinking long after the fina page has been read.