What is it about?
K is a somewhat philosophical elementary school teacher in his early twenties, living in Tokyo and having an affair with the mother of one of his pupils. Sumire is a college dropout and struggling writer, a serial maker of three AM phone calls. Miu is in her late thirties/early forties, and runs a company that imports wine from Europe into Japan. K is in love with Sumire; Sumire is in love Miu; and Miu is in love with a past self, missing forever in another world. On a small island in Greece, all three of them are in danger of losing both themselves and each other.
Is it any good?
Sputnik Sweetheart is, for lack of a better word, bizarre – and not in a wholly good way. On the face of it Sputnik Sweetheart should be brilliant; there’s fantastic figurative language, an interesting style of narration, and quirky, unique characters. But the storyline (or the lack thereof) really lets it down. It’s so hard to get into and stay interested in, which is why such a short book (229 pages) took me such a long time (16 days) to read. Another reason I didn’t particularly like it was the portrayal of lesbians through the character of Sumire – it feels like Murakami did everything in his power to make her a stereotypical lesbian, right down to the clothes she wears, and then made her attraction to Miu hyper-sexualised in a way that would never normally happen between two heterosexual characters (e.g. the first time Sumire lays eyes on Miu, her nipples instantly harden). I get the feeling that Sputnik Sweetheart is a book that I’ll appreciate more now that I’ve finished it than when I was reading it.
How long did it take to read: 16 days
For fans of: The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Paper Towns by John Green, pointless oddness
This book tastes like: Long Island ice tea