Murakami rewards silence. Most of the time when I'm reading, I have music on in the background. Or some particularly fluffy books I'll read during commercials or between turns of Civ II. But this book I found I got the most out of when the house was quiet, and I was curled up on my new recliner, giving it my full attention.
In many ways the most straightforward Murakami book I've read (the fourth, I think), but I found at the beginning that many of the motifs were reminding me of the Wind-Up Bird Chronicle. Perhaps because of this, although nothing as overtly odd as in his other books took place, that slight feeling of unreality pervaded the pages. Most of the book's main characters walk close to Death, in different ways. And through that, living, choosing to live, and how, haunt the main character as he feels a pull towards two different women.
It's also a meditation on the 1960s and university culture in Tokyo, although the main character avoids being entangled in campus politics.
I don't know if I could put my finger on what was behind the lingering sense of eeriness of this book, but I enjoyed the evocation, and was glad I had been quiet enough to experience it.