Murakami goes, I am unsure where I landed with Sputnik Sweetheart. On the one hand, I appreciate a three-character novel where everybody is an introvert. On the other, its triumvirate of troubled characters are so remote as to be removed from everybody, including the reader. They are more a collection of tendencies than anything else. Plus, it's a story that shifts as it finishes, almost ending twice, like reading a cake about to topple. I suppose my real problem is how slight it feels. This isn't a crime, just a consideration to file away.
Somehow, it doesn't feel like the proper entry point for deciding how I feel about Murakami. I was between casting After Dark or Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World in the role of decider. I will say that I appreciate the loneliness and dread turned on low for the entirety of Sputnik Sweetheart. As readable as it is, it's not pleasant but I was still compelled to keep going. I look forward to potentially choosing the correct book, the one that makes me understand why he is as dear as he is to people I've met.