Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Sputnik Sweetheart, Haruki Murakami

“Ice is cold; roses are red. I’m in love. And this love is about to carry me off somewhere. The current’s too overpowering; I don’t have any choice. It may very well be a special place, some place I’ve never seen before. Danger may be lurking there, something that may end up wounding me deeply, fatally. I might end up losing everything. But there’s no turning back. I can only go with the flow. Even if it means I’ll be burned up, gone for ever.”

"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 people 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 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."

---   Sputnik Sweetheart, Haruki Murakami

Sputnik Sweetheart is narrated by a 24-year-old school teacher who is secretly in love with his friend Sumire, an aspiring writer who reveres Jack Kerouac and chain-smokes. At the beginning of the novel, she is plagued with doubts on her capacity to love and bothered by her utter lack of sexual desire, which she, at times, blames for her lack of writing inspiration.  She discusses this openly with the narrator.

Sumire soon falls in love with Miu, a sophisticated older woman with a secret that turned her hair snow-white.

I promise it is not as ridiculous as I’m (unintentionally) making it seem.

It’s a love story of sorts, but to call this a love-triangle doesn’t quite capture its central theme. Like in all Murakami novels, the characters are all lost, lonely souls looking to be loved by someone too damaged or too selfish to reciprocate.  

It was an interesting read. Though I admit, I’m not too fond of the ending. I feel like it was missing several chapters in the middle and I just don’t get how it got from point A to point B. It’s not my favourite Murakami but it’s still pretty good, if you could call feeling very, very depressed after reading “good.”.  

Here’s another Murakami that is not my favourite.

In my very humble opinion, Norwegian Wood devoted too many pages on the emo, suicidal (and completely unlovable!) Naoko and not enough on Midori, the coolest girl to ever come out of Murakami’s wonderful imagination.

To this day, one of the best compliments I’ve ever received – and this happened several years ago – was “you’re my Midori.”

I haven't seen the movie. I'll tell you all about it when I do.

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