Friday, November 02, 2007

Satellite of Love

Sputnik Sweetheart / Spūtoniku no koibito by Haruki Murakami, Japanse, 1999; Philip Gabriel, English translation, 2001).

Compelling novel that at first seems simple, but is actually complex. "K" adores Sumire, who falls for Miu. K is a male teacher in his mid-20s who eerily has the same birthday as I do (December 9); Sumire is an aspiring writer in her early 20s, a bit lost, influenced by Jack Kerouac and other American writers. Miu, fortyish, is an independent wheeler-dealer platonically married to an offstage husband. Each is a satellite of love, alone in the universe but connected to each other so not entirely alone after all. K has married girlfriends (one, the mother of a student) but he really has his hopes set on Sumire, who agrees to go on an open-ended trip to Europe with Miu as her "special assistant," leaving K wondering.

Later in the novel, Miu calls K and asks him to come to a small Greek island near the Turkish mainland. Sumire is missing.

In the preliminaries, there's a note about Sputnik II carrying the first cosmonaut on board -- Laika the dog -- launched on November 3, 1957 (fifty years ago tomorrow) -- "but the satellite was never recovered." More is made of Sputnik meaning "travelling companion," and there's a passage about a misunderstanding between Miu and Sumire over Sputnik, Beatnik, and Jack Kerouac.

Once K arrives at the island, the novel dramatically wanders into David Lynch territory.

Birthday: Kim So Yeon.

Birthday: Marisol Nichols.

Today's Rune: Harvest.

Annyong-hi kashipshio!

1 comment:

JR's Thumbprints said...

I've heard of Haruki Murakami, but never read anything by her (if my mind serves me right, that is, unless I read a short story by her). Interesting -- sputnik, beatnik connection.