I like to read a novel by Haruki Murakami every year and I'm sneaking this one in now before the 30 January deadline for the end of the Japanese Literature challenge.
Sputnik Sweetheart is Murakami at his best, beautifully written, entertaining, thought provoking and odd. Twenty two year old aspiring novelist Sumire is in love with Miu, an older woman, who likes Sumire but is unable to have a full relationship with anyone due to a mysterious incident that happened to her twenty years earlier.
The story is narrated by K, who himself loves Sumire, despite the fact that she is only interested in him as a friend.
The novel beautifully explores love and desire, loneliness and identity. The Sputnik in the title relates partly to Miu's misnaming the Beatniks and also to the comparisons drawn by K between lonley people and space satellites.
Sputnik Sweetheart by Haruki Murakami (translated by Philip Gabriel) published Vintage House
for the Japanese Literature Challenge