Probably the most accessible of Murakami’s psychedelic metafiction (the only surreal character – the recurrent Sheepman – occurs right at the start of the novel). The rest comprises a murder-mystery centered around a lonely journalist and a precocious thirteen year-old and effortlessly spans time (the eighties) and space (the Pacific between Japan and Hawaii). Combining all of Murakami’s usual themes (popular, jazz and classical music, alienation and loneliness, enigmatic mysteries that lie just beyond the veneer of everyday life), “Dance Dance Dance” sweeps the reader along with a taut plot, intriguing menagerie of characters, and two strange and beautiful protagonists whose unlikely friendship cements the narrative. Murakami has come under withering criticism recently (the closer he appears to get to the Nobel shortlist the sharper the knives appear to get), and certainly there are those who find his prose morally vacuous and his spatiotemporal pyrotechnics heavy-handed. But if you yearn to dig deeper into the solitude, emptiness and desolation that comprises much of modern life, his fiction is hard to beat.