First off let me say I can see why Murakami isn't for everyone. Out of the four books of his I've read this year two have been about suicidal teenager's, the other two are surreal tales I guess.
To be honest I think the wind up bird chronicles has been my favorite. I did really enjoy kafka on the shore as well so far it's my second favorite. Both books have a similar what the fuck is going on theme mixed in with very gruesome violence. This books is have some boring parts though lots of over long descriptions of of various mundane daily tasks.
At the heart though this is a very unique take on on the coming of age self discovery tale. I recommend for open minded cat lovers, but not for the squeamish.