It took me 'forever' (about a month) to finish this tri-volume book. It had a captivating start, and then became draggy. Being that this is the first work that I have read from this author, I can't say if this is his writing style, a stylistic difference in language (as it was originally written in Japanese) or it's just this way with this book. In any case, the unfolding of the story became somewhat laborious and mundane, and didn't pick up again until towards the end. During the times that I struggled with the dryness of the way the story was unfolding, I could not help up conjure up the image of a (Japanese) bowl of white rice (read: bland) waiting to be flavored by some dish. I had picked up this read because it had been described as being in the same league as Orwell's '1984'. To be fair, it does have a little bit of an esoteric lean (though few and far between), which is what intrigued me in the first place -- I thought that it had something to do with parallel universes, etc., but does not quite deliver -- certainly didn't need 3 volumes. In my opinion too, the ending was not all that neat -- perhaps, it alludes to a fourth installment of the story?