Really more of a novella than a novel, with the flavor of Murakami's short fiction. One of his hapless protagonists puzzles through his confusion about the empty spaces in his life for a while, then the book ends. I enjoyed the first-person POV chapters much more than the third person sections about The Rat (this book is the second in the author's "Trilogy of the Rat"). It's not thrilling reading, but you get the idea that there is a lot to unpack here, and a great deal of insight into the aimlessness of just living, without a connection to another human being or a sense of your proper place. Pinball plays the role of a lost love for the narrator, and I really enjoyed the brief sections describing his obsession with the game. While certainly not as weird as anything in Murakami's best-known novels, the story has a sort of fuzzy, other-worldly quality that puts you in the frame of mind of the two lead characters, both of whom don't quite seem able to connect with the world.Though never officially released in the U.S., you can easily find this online as a PDF. It's very short, so unless you're a hardcore collector, I wouldn't bother importing the English version (produced for Japanese students learning English) from Japan (though I do wish I'd thought to look for it when I was there last year... would have been a nice souvenir to go along with my stuffed Totoro and clear commuter umbrella).