Murakami writes great characters. His prose is solid, and the excerpt I read from ‘Kafka on the Shore’ in The Paris Review was great -both funny and unsettling. Neither of those qualities were present in this book.
It’s still a good book. It’s thoughtful and nuanced, presented in a deliberate composition… I was just never surprised by anything. There is a complete lack of any deeper level, any emotional resonance beyond (or below) the superficial story. Again, it’s a very good story. If you enjoy books on a level of well-written direct narrative, there’s nothing missing here; I had just hoped for a bit more. I was reminded (painfully) of the overly-direct style of young adult novels, a convention that I totally understand and respect within its context, but a convention that produces books that aren’t for me.
Recommendation: Give it a go if you want a good story about an interesting person in an interesting time. Take a pass if you want your books to cut a bit deeper.