I don't particularly care about Chihiro, the main character. I find her selfish and annoying, with her constant complaining and how she feels about her family. I like Mama-san, her flower-like delicate mother, other than that I don't love the characters. I also find Nakajima odd, and even with the explanation of the horrid things he's gone though, it doesn't help to explain how he's behaving. Usually I find the dialogue and the narration make sense, like they touch a deep place within us and make us feel emotional. But with this one, I come up with nada.
I love Banana Yoshimoto's books, I really do. I wonder if maybe because it's been years since I read her books, the last one being Amrita, and I have a complete collection of her work.. I'm disappointed by this one. Makes for a quick read, wonderful cover by the way, and certainly still looking forward to her finest work :) despite how I feel about The Lake.