Sputnik Sweetheart (1999) is a short(er) Murakami novel, about 7h in its audiobook version (borrowed via the Libby app, narrated by Adam Sims). It's magical realism (in a moderate dose) with classic Murakami themes of relationships (some cringy), loneliness, books, music, cats. It's got a sort of impossible love triangle, alternate worlds and a bit of mystery.

I liked it, but less than his other novels I think: the story of the Trilogy of the Rat books1 grabbed me more, and I missed the pronounced magical realism of Hard-Boiled Wonderland (1985), 1Q84 (2009–10) and others. This felt a bit like a half-measure. Still, Muramaki novels are kind of comfort books to me: I read a lot of them2 so they feel familiar and that makes them good reads for when I'm tired (no need to think much) or when I'm gardening (yay audiobooks).


  1. Murakami's first three novels: Hear the Wind Sing (1979), Pinball, 1973 (1980) and A Wild Sheep Chase (1982); plus a sequel, Dance Dance Dance (1988).

  2. out of 15 novels listed on Murakami's Wikipedia entry, I've now read 11 (and Murakami's 15th novel, Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage just came out, and hasn't been translated yet.)