Asian studies in Lithuania
Authors: Murakami, Haruki
Translated by: Susnytė, Ieva
Full translated source bibliographical description:

Murakami Haruki. Spūtoniku no koibito, Kodansha, 1999.

Published on: 2008

The novel’s protagonist, Sumire, is an aspiring writer who survives on a family stipend and the creative input of her only friend, the novel’s male narrator, ‘K’. ‘K’ is an elementary school teacher, 25 years old, and in love with Sumire, though she does not quite share his feelings. At a wedding, Sumire meets an Ethnic Korean woman, Miu. The two strike up a conversation and Sumire starts to work for the older, married woman. Over time, she realises that she is attracted to her, and thus, that she might be a homosexual.

Miu proposes that Sumire accompany her on a business trip to France. Sumire obliges her. In France, they meet a gifted British writer who suggests the two women make use of his vacant house on a Greek Island. Miu takes Sumire to Greece, and as they spend their days together, Sumire’s attraction to Miu grows stronger.

One morning, Miu discovers that Sumire is missing. She telephones ‘K’ and asks him to fly out to Greece, to help find his friend. ‘K’ obliges but their extensive efforts to locate Sumire are unsuccessful.

With the end of summer approaching, ‘K’ and Miu return to Japan separately. ‘K’ goes about returning to his old life. He never hears from Miu again, despite her promising to keep in touch.

As with other Murakami works, Sputnik Sweetheart lacks a clear, concise ending. If the plot is to be taken literally, devoid of subjective interpretation, then one night, out of the blue, Sumire calls ‘K’ and tells him that she is back in Japan. She conveys that she is ready to reciprocate his feelings, and asks him to pick her up at the same phone booth she always called him from.

Initiators of the project: Japan foundation VDU