Scarlet's Reviews > Sputnik Sweetheart

Sputnik Sweetheart by Haruki Murakami
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really liked it
bookshelves: it-stays-with-you, magic-realism, for-my-future-library, japan, translated-works

"Reality was one step out of line, a cardigan with the buttons done up wrong."


I have come to realise that reading a Murakami book is not quite an act of reading itself but an act of dreaming with your eyes open. What you see is a series of surreal images barely held together by threads of reason. What matters however, is the feeling these images leave you with; an aftertaste that lingers and intensifies even as the world within these pages turns stranger and more disconcerting; until what you associate with the book is not the story or the characters, but simply, that feeling.

Sputnik Sweetheart would forever be linked in my mind with an aching kind of loneliness. Like losing something you thought you owned and then realising it was never really yours.

Only three characters inhabit the landscape in this book. Each is either a victim of unrequited love or incapable of being in love. They listen, talk, nod along and at the end of the day, go back to their lonely lives and continue to love just the person who cannot love them back. Like sputniks orbiting each other but never getting closer.

I believe what Murakami does is strip life of all flamboyance and expose how mundane it really is. How personal can a connection with a stranger be when some part of him/her will always be a mystery? We can know people, yet not know them. Is love simply a dream we see to avoid the reality of our lonely existence; each life in a separate orbit?

Indeed, reality bites.

"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."


Go on. Dream a Murakami.
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Quotes Scarlet Liked

Haruki Murakami
“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.”
Haruki Murakami, Sputnik Sweetheart
tags: loss

Haruki Murakami
“I dream. Sometimes I think that's the only right thing to do.”
Haruki Murakami, Sputnik Sweetheart


Reading Progress

March 2, 2013 – Shelved
November 11, 2014 – Shelved as: it-stays-with-you
November 11, 2014 – Shelved as: magic-realism
Started Reading
November 13, 2014 – Finished Reading
March 7, 2016 – Shelved as: for-my-future-library
January 4, 2019 – Shelved as: japan
January 4, 2019 – Shelved as: translated-works

Comments Showing 1-29 of 29 (29 new)

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message 1: by [deleted user] (new)

My favourite Murakami book. I'll never forget reading it in my first year of university. <3


Samadrita Trying not to get my hopes up. But if you're back for good Scarlet, then yay! What a comeback review.


Scarlet Vanessa wrote: "My favourite Murakami book. I'll never forget reading it in my first year of university. <3"

Yes, it makes quite an impression :) And the prose is just lovely. My copy is a mess of highlights.


Scarlet Samadrita wrote: "Trying not to get my hopes up. But if you're back for good Scarlet, then yay! What a comeback review."

Thanks Sama! I'm making a genuine effort to get back to active reviewing this time, so yay! :D


Basuhi Wow, I've never read a Murakami book. But I must get my hands on it soon if what your review promises is real!


Himanshu Wonderful review, Scarlet. :)


Scarlet Basuhi wrote: "Wow, I've never read a Murakami book. But I must get my hands on it soon if what your review promises is real!"

I will be looking forward to your take on Murakami :)


Scarlet Himanshu wrote: "Wonderful review, Scarlet. :)"

Thank you :)


Samir Rawas Sarayji Your opening paragraph after the quote is very much spot on, beautifully phrased :-)


Scarlet Samir wrote: "Your opening paragraph after the quote is very much spot on, beautifully phrased :-)"

Thanks Samir :)


message 11: by Matthias (new)

Matthias That first paragraph is the best description of reading Haruki Murakami I've ever seen.
"Dream a Murakami" indeed! Great advice :-))


Junta Great review Scarlet! You've captured Murakami's writing really well.


Scarlet Junta wrote: "Great review Scarlet! You've captured Murakami's writing really well."

Matthias wrote: "That first paragraph is the best description of reading Haruki Murakami I've ever seen.
"Dream a Murakami" indeed! Great advice :-))"


Thank you for the kind words, Junta and Matthias :)


Vessey Beautiful, insightful and a great pleasure to read. Thank you, Scarlet! :)


Scarlet Vessey wrote: "Beautiful, insightful and a great pleasure to read. Thank you, Scarlet! :)"

Just read your review. I'm so glad you loved the book too :)


Scarlet Fatty wrote: "Fantastic review, Scarlet. You've described the Murakami experience accurately. And your takeaway from the book was very different from mine, which made this all the more interesting to read!"

Thanks Fatty! What did you make of the book?


message 17: by Tishya Mahajan (new)

Tishya Mahajan I am definitely reading this one now.


Scarlet Tishya Mahajan wrote: "I am definitely reading this one now."

Hope you enjoy it, Tishya :)


Rafaella Litvin You put my exact thoughts about reading a Murakami into words on that first paragraph. Thank you :)


Jasmine Your review is wonderfully written!


Brian Wow, this is an incredible review! It brought me right back to the sad-beautiful-loneliness that permeates the book and inhabited me after reading it.

Thank-you!


Scarlet Brian wrote: "Wow, this is an incredible review! It brought me right back to the sad-beautiful-loneliness that permeates the book and inhabited me after reading it.

Thank-you!"


Jasmine wrote: "Your review is wonderfully written!"

Rafaella wrote: "You put my exact thoughts about reading a Murakami into words on that first paragraph. Thank you :)"

Thank you :)


message 23: by Suma (new) - rated it 4 stars

Suma Vasanth I just finished reading the book. Feeling a bit confused !! 😊 but reading your review is helping me put things ins perspective


Scarlet Suma wrote: "I just finished reading the book. Feeling a bit confused !! 😊 but reading your review is helping me put things ins perspective"

Thanks for commenting, Suma. Glad to know you liked the book too :)


message 25: by Steve (new)

Steve "I have come to realise that reading a Murakami book is not quite an act of reading itself but an act of dreaming with your eyes open."

I really like this. So true!


Scarlet Steve wrote: ""I have come to realise that reading a Murakami book is not quite an act of reading itself but an act of dreaming with your eyes open."

I really like this. So true!"


Glad you think so, Steve ^_^


message 27: by Ri (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ri You have somehow managed to put into words my exact thoughts, my exact feelings when I think about Murakami’s work. I could go into detail but it’s probably useless anyway, because you must already know what I mean.


Shubham Kumar "...until what you associate with the book is not the story or the characters, but simply, that feeling"

Very well written!!


Scarlet Shubham wrote: ""...until what you associate with the book is not the story or the characters, but simply, that feeling"

Very well written!!"


Ri wrote: "You have somehow managed to put into words my exact thoughts, my exact feelings when I think about Murakami’s work. I could go into detail but it’s probably useless anyway, because you must already..."

Thanks, Ri and Shubham ^_^


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