This is a wonderful novel, which I couldn't put down until it was finished . Murakami has made a quite simple tale magical through the quality of his story telling. This is in many ways a love story, but as always Murakami deals with other aspects of the human condition very movingly. Loneliness, alienation, love, hope and loss are all part of the narrative, with the melancholy of early death a running theme. As one of the characters says, death is part of life and this novel deals with that sensitively and thoughtfully.
Overall, though, this is a very positive story, which inspires the hope of redemption and happiness, despite setbacks and pain along the way.