Everything was fine now that she was around -- that was the sensation. I also felt a certain sense of peace knowing that there'd never been a reason a person like this should not be in my life.That quote was taken at random, but the whole book is similar. The language and imagery are pretty, to be sure, but it's all empty. The characters' voices are not distinct from each other (though this could be due to translation), nor are their personalities. It's all just one character's ramblingly ornate thoughts about random things and minor events.
Take, for example, a grand cathedral in the middle of an ancient village in Europe. It's something you've seen many times brightly shining in postcards and on TV. You picture it in your mind under a perfectly blue sky, surrounded by crystal-clear air. Then you get on a plane and fly thousands of miles to see it in person, and there it is, just like you imagined it. For me, Noodles was my cathedral. I always knew she was there, but now I was actually seeing her in person. I felt a great respect for such a presence.
She inspired nostalgia, a sweet sense of homesickness. Like a soft lullaby I listened to as a child, I could hear that soft melody around her. She appeared misty and far away, like a beautiful light in the distance.
Maybe I was in a different mood when I read Kitchen and NP, or maybe this book really is different. It's certainly longer (it seemed like it would never end). If I didn't have a strange compulsion to finish books once I've begun reading them, I would have thrown this one in the give-away pile before page 200 of its 366.