I liked this book, first of all. It’s actually two novellas, and I enjoyed them both about equally. Yoshimoto’s earnestness? honesty? clarity? could have come across as sentimental, or something worse — cutesy, maybe, despite the rather deep themes of death, loss, belonging, place… But I digress. I just felt like I couldn’t quite “get” it. Since finishing, I’ve read a couple of really negative reviews of the translation. I wouldn’t have come up with that, but who knows?
Regardless, there’s a sweetness to these stories that was deeper for me than the “What the…?” I also felt. Also, it’s impressive that in such few words, she was able to draw these characters so well.
That’s all I’ve got. I wish I could read Japanese. Murakami might make a lot more sense, too.