Well it has the same Murakami-san smoothness, the story runs well and you are always curious about what will happen to the characters, or why they are who they are right now. It is interesting from the cultural perspective for me too, because I don't know much about the still kept-back Japanese culture. It seems that they are reserved when it comes to relationships, a bit like here. I can relate to the growing up presented in the book, like I guess, many boys. I mean that coming of adolescence feel, that same awkward relationships with girls, trying to discover the opposite sex. Not knowing what to do with life, nor the meaning of it. I think these two topics, girls and future plans are the summary of those years. I think Murakami-san portrays it well. As his characters get old (well he is narrating from the future but for the sake of the argument, or the books progress) they tie their acts to the past memories, experiences. So you think "Oh, that's the reason he is this way" or maybe "so this is why she is hurt" etc. And it is interesting because you like to see your future, with respect to all your past experiences. You can relate to the story, and in a way its your future, or how your future could [have] be[en], that is told in the story.
About "South of the Border, West of the Sun"