I'd been wanting to read a Murakami for a long time, and plenty of my friends told me to start with this novel. It certainly did not disappoint. The prose and story have a pull that not many other books have; it's hypnotic in a way that made me never want to put it down and that also nearly made me miss many subway stops over the week it took me to read.
I wouldn't call the story 'enjoyable,' but it is good. It's melancholic and strange and heartbreaking, but beautiful all the same. It's about Japanese teenagers in the '60s, but it's telling that I recognize traits of these characters in some of the people I grew up with, or even people I know today. They're the Watanabes grown up a bit; I knew a Naoko who came out of everything okay. That's not to say these characters are generic--they are fully realized, but relatable.
On Friday evening I spent the train ride out of the city crying through the last few pages and trying to hide it from the other passengers. Reading this book on subways and trains was most fitting, in retrospect.