This is a rather strange novel. It is an easy book to read and get into the story but there are so many inconsistencies and improbabilities that the reader is ultimately left slightly bewildered and a little dissatisfied. In particular I thought that it was inconceivable that Christopher appeared to accept the fate of his childhood friend without the slightest care or curiosity.
Similarly, Christopher's meteoric rise to fame is barely credible given his youth and inexperience. Then there is the inexplicable changes in his personal character. In the first half of the book he is shown as a very caring, sensitive person while he is almost the exact opposite when he returns to Shanghai.
The premise of the story is also rather odd. I found it strange that an obviously intelligent person could believe that his parents would still be alive after, ostensibly being held in captivity for two decades in a hostile environment. Some sense of sanity might have been restored if the diplomats had taken a more cautious, realistic stance but they simply fuelled Christopher's' optimism by discussing the mode of the `welcome home' celebrations. It is all a little unbelievable.
However, despite these criticisms I still enjoyed the book but it is not in the same league as Ishiguro's other novels.