Haruki Murakami and Sputnik Sweeheart

So I was all of 21 when I first read, “Sputnik Sweetheart” by Murakami and yes like any other 21 year-old who reads of love, I was blown away. Literally. My mind was in pieces and my heart was trying hard to decipher the writing on the wall. I came out to my folks when I was nineteen, but I guess my coming out was realized to myself when I finished reading, “Sputnik Sweetheart” and not because of the same-sex love overtones in the book. It went at a level deeper than that and I knew it. This post is dedicated to my favourite writer in the whole wide word: Haruki Murakami and his writing.

Sputnik Sweetheart was an eye-opener in almost every sense of the word – the writing was simple and yet tugged at the heart and mind strings to a very large extent. I remember savouring the book, wanting to drown myself in the words and was so apprehensive that it would get over soon. After all it was only 224 pages long and honestly I wanted it to go on and on.

What is the book about you ask? Well, its about Sumire – a 21 year old aspiring writer who is not lesbian and yet somewhere down the line falls in love with another woman. The narrator is Sumire’s friend who loves her. Sumire’s love is Miu who does not love her, at least not the way Sumire does and there starts the disappearance of Sumire and its consequences. It seems a simple story. It is not. Here are some quotes from it. My favourite ones:

“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.”

“The answer is dreams. Dreaming on and on. Entering the world of dreams and never coming out. Living in dreams for the rest of time.”

“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?”

“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.”

See what I mean! Its unrequited love all the way and may be that’s why I love it so much. I do not know how to end this post. All I know is that for me, Sputnik Sweetheart will always hold that special place in my heart.

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