Saturday, December 27, 2008

Japanese Reading Challenge No 2

I appear to have turned the Japanese Reading Challenge No 2 into a Murakami challenge - I've really enjoyed this opportunity to be consumed by the author. I have just finished reading Sputnik Sweetheart and am finishing off Underground.Sputnik is the name of the man made satellite that took a dog into space, but it came to be the nickname of the characters lover as a result of a confusion in a conversation. As I reflected further on the title of the book, I could see that Murakami had used it to reflect something deeper. The main character, Sumire, has fallen in love with an older married woman, her sputnik sweetheart. But as the story spins around Sumire, her adored sputnik, and K (the story teller and man in love with Sumire) it becomes evident that they are all spinning in orbit, perhaps like the dog in Sputnik, starring out to space wondering what's going on.

Murakami has kept me spell bound while I follow the tales of these three characters through some bizzare experiences. Again, I see a depth to his analogies which is beyond the storyline. Sumire's 'sputnik sweetheart' has had a traumatic out of body experience that turns her hair white, Sumire disappears off the face of the earth, while K is left to carry on the mundane life of a teacher. If I were to reflect on my life, there would large chunks of time where I may as well have disappeared from all place, yet I have returned with new personal insights and convictions. There have been many times in my life, when I have been to one who, like K, seems to be the grounded one, called on to help and continue the mundane while others are in shock, grief or lost.

Again I have really enjoyed Murakami's ability to take me away, and deliver me to a place where I can see what's happening. More soon on Underground.


1 comment:

Meredith said...

I can't wait to read this! I've purchased all I can of Murakami's works, and this one sounds especially compelling. He writes so enigmatically, to me anyway, that I'll be extra glad to discuss this particular book with you when I finish it.

I hope you're enjoying your Christmas in Australia. I, personally, would miss the snow and ice of Chicago, but plenty of people here would gladly trade places with you!