The book ‘Sputnik Sweetheart’ is a novel by Haruki Murakami that is simply about love. The author creates characters who are frustrated while at the same time sexually enigmatic. The characters in the book seek happiness but they all pursue it from where they cannot find it in return. This means that they all fell in love with people who would not reciprocate. In real life, most human beings are like the characters in the book, with minds that dream and lifestyles that portray the willingness and eagerness to live the dreams. Human beings are all in split into two – their real lives and the lives they dream to live.
The author has created three main characters. K, which is the short of Kafkaesque, is the name of the narrator. He is a young teacher whom the author keeps unanalyzed and he is never really discussed in the book. K loves Sumire, an aspiring young novelist while Sumire loves the third character Miu. The title of the book is derived from the name Sumire secretly gives Miu after a discussion they had about a novel Sumire was reading. Evidently, the love K has for Sumire cannot be reciprocated since she is in love with another. Miu cannot also reciprocate the love Sumire feels for her since she views her as a travelling companion. This is also another point where the title is derived from since a travelling companion is known as a ‘Sputnik’ in Russian (Murakami, 2002).
The author describes the relationships where one party is in love with another and the love is not mutual as ‘sputnik relationships’. In real life, most humans experience these kinds of relationships where the people they fall in love with do not all the time reciprocate the love. In cases where they do, they do it half-heartedly. Humans also have Sputnik relationships with their emotions and personal lives since most of them live in denial. This is the situation where a human being desires a better life than he/she is living and depicts it in his/her current lifestyle. K and Sumire have a Sputnik kind of relationship since the narrator calls her all the time and she thinks they are very good friends. However, the narrator loves her. Sumire calls K at very odd hours of the night and claims to trust him but to K’s disappointment, she just does not love him (Murakami, 2002).
From the book, the author depicts the whole world to be full of ‘sputniks’. This is because all the relationships in the book are dysfunctional. Miu and Sumire have a good relationship, as good a relationship as K and Sumire have. However, both relationships are only good to a certain level that cannot be called intimacy. Miu is unable to reciprocate Sumire’s love and Sumire K’s. It is learnt that Miu is married but has a dysfunctional relationship with her husband since they do not sleep together. K is also involved with one of the mothers of the pupils in his class. It is learnt that she is also unhappily married. It is clear that from the whole book there are no happy marriages and no happy sexual relationships.
Miu is unhappy of who she is. She shares with Sumire that she is half the person she wanted to be. She says that a few years previously was when her transformation happened. She says her hair turned white overnight and that these were the effects of a dream she had. Sumire also aspires to become a writer but the narrator still thinks she is halfway there since she is not fully able to control the material she writes. All the lives, especially those of the three main characters are ‘sputnik’ lives (Murakami, 2002).
The author gives the readers a depiction of the worlds he creates to show how the real world operates. The lives of many people are not fully achieved and most want to be in better and higher places than they currently are. Most people also wish that the people they love loved them back. It is normal to have dreams and ambitions but people should not let these dreams and ambitions rule and change their normal lives. ‘Sputnik’ lives are common in society and they are brought about by the emotional and egotistical fights that most human beings have with reality. Murakami does a good job in portraying this.
Murakami, Haruki. The Sputnik Sweetheart: A novel. Trans. J. Philip Gabriel. New York, NY: Vintage International, 2002. Print.