I read Haruki Murakami’s ‘Sputnik Sweetheart’ a couple of weeks ago and found it a surreal and captivating tale of longing. Sumire, the protagonist, has a shaggy mane, reads voraciously, writes until the wee hours of morning, and lives in a tiny apartment crammed with piles of books. She is also obsessively in love with a woman, Miu, who is seventeen years older than her. Miu, harbouring crushed ambitions and a loveless marriage, is equally fond of Sumire’s company but doesn’t desire her. And there is K, the narrator, who has been in love with Sumire for long years but her aloofness in matters of love and longing, had curbed all his initiatives to reach her. They talk though, they talk a lot. She likes the way he explains things to her and doesn’t hesitate to call him up at 3am from a darkened phone booth and talk for hours, with a cigarette dangling from her mouth. They read books together, he is the only one allowed to go through the first drafts of her novels that she had abandoned midway; and he listens to her with such an endearing attention that is reflective of how much he values her presence in his life. Books, chaotic minds full of innumerable questions, a latent ennui, repressed love and longing bind them together. And then a series of bizarre events lead to Sumire’s disappearance. Each character is sketched haphazardly, but it is the gaps in their stories, the details beyond the veil, that makes them intriguing. Loose ends abound and the disjointed narrative might put off a major section of readers, but I simply couldn’t put it down. Miu crosses their lives, but K and Sumire slowly discovers the unnamed, subtle, unhurried, and unquestionably devoted love, that they had searched for years in the wrong places, in each other. Or was it all just an illusion? This book is more of an acquired taste for the thin line between the surreal and the real, but I loved it.