- Why do people have to be this lonely? What’s the point of it all? Millions of people in this world, all of them yearning, looking to others to satisfy them, yet isolating themselves. Why? Was the Earth put here just to nourish human loneliness?
Have you ever asked a question like that? One time or another in your life? If so, you would be able to appreciate Haruke Murakami’ novels, and in this case, Sputnik Sweetheart, a beautifully crafted, deeply poetic, and wonderfully touching novel, a fiction at its best.
There are many hard-core Murakami fans in this world, and I am hardly an expert in dissecting what the author has achieved in his fairly long span of fiction writing. After all, to date, I have only read two of his well-known books, the other being Norwegian Wood, which apparently catapulted him into the public eye and won him a worldwide following, selling millions of copies in Japan alone.
Although his novels are translated from Japanese into English, and in many other languages as well, as a reader, I do not feel as if I was reading something from translation and wish I could read its original tongue. Murakami’s voice is original and poetic, his characters, dysfunctional yet intelligent, unique and memorable. Let’s take another look at one such well-written prose.
- I don’t know what to call it. Just writing. I’m thinking aloud, so there’s no need to wrap things up neatly. I have no moral obligations. I’m merely – hmm – thinking. I haven’t done any real thinking for the longest time, and probably won’t for the foreseeable future. But right now at this very moment, I am thinking.
Do you think a lot, especially at night when you cannot sleep? or when you are going through some kind of the teenage angst, or when you face tough, emotional trials in your life? Murakami’s characters may be Japanese, still in their early 20s, as in the case of Sumire and K, who appeared to be confused, lost and somewhat surreal, but I can relate to how they feel and what they are going through, both in their head and in their life.
Apart from the haunting prose and images, the scenes in Sputnik Sweetheart are dreamy and surreal. There are a lot of metaphors and symbolisms, which lead to different, multi-layer interpretations, making the reading an utterly enjoyable experience.
There is also a simplicity in the author’s story-telling, which pulls the reader, taking you along and sucking you in. The author’s exquisite, masterful skills shine through the pages, making me pause from time to time, savouring each moment and play back the scenes. If you are like me, an incurable sucker for the beauty of words, and spell-binding images that words provoke in your imagination, read this book. I have little doubt that you would go back to his literary creations, for more gratification!
There are, apparently, 62 editions to choose from (via GoodReads). Finally, who better than Mr Maurakami to entice you to pick up one?
- It was all complicated, like something out of an existential play. Everything hit a dead end there, no alternative left. And Sumire had exited stage right.