Will this post have anything to do with Christmas? No, of course not.
Haruki Murakami's Hard-boiled Wonderland and the End of the World has faults, but Murakami is one of those lucky writers that make you think he's doing it on purpose. They're not faults, they're post-modern jokes, or something. When it wants to be, Hard-boiled Wonderland is a good book. Murakami does surreal very well - there's wardrobes hiding chasms that lead to rivers with silent waterfalls and unicorn skulls that hold dreams. The book is divided into two sections, one half in a modern Tokyo and the other in the fantasy End of the World town. In the 'real' world setting Murakami is determined to show how boring the character's life is. With his last day he literally just sits around thinking about trivial things. But the problem is, it's boring. I know all the mundane details are there for a point, but they'res still mundane. I notice the point he's making but I'm not enjoying it.
There are other faults that I'm not really allowed to call faults. The protagonist is constantly drinking beer. Every woman he meets is desperate to sleep with him. That sort of thing. Comments on the standard American hero, not (probably) bad writing. Most of this is guesswork though, because this is the only Murakami book I've read. He could be a bad writer, but I'm sure he's just being clever.