I originally ordered this book as I am interested in Japanese culture and thought it might be a good idea to read some Japanese novels translated into English. I also found out that they are turning this book into a film staring one of my favourite Japanese actors and therefore thought this would be a good one to start with. This is the first Japanese novel I have ever read.
Firstly, I was not disappointed with this book. I found the insight into Japanese culture hugely interesting and I really like Murakami's style of writing. I enjoyed the imagery and found that a lot of this book reminded me of my first love. It also made me reminisce about my time at university.
I found the characters to be not particularly likeable and hence it was hard to care about them. One of my favourite characters was Midori because she made me laugh and she was not bothered by the usual conventions of society. I found a lot of the reason I cared about Toru was because I cared about Midori. I found the character Naoko very irritating and found it hard to understand why Toru loved her so much. As a character Toru was quite boring but his inoffensiveness meant that I did want him to find happiness.
I do not regret buying this book as I found it enjoyable but mainly because of the insight into Japanese culture it provided me with. As a novel itself it doesn't really feel like it goes anywhere and I felt unsatisfied with the ending and the behaviour of the characters. At times I wanted to scream at Toru!
This novel is not life changing but I found it to be a pleasurable read. I would suggest borrowing it from a library first though!