I mean, the overall story is really good in my opinion, so if people recommended it, that might maybe be more based on the story itself and not so much on the language?
That’s of course also an option. I haven’t seen the English translation so I cannot really comment on that.
The book was adapted from a stage play and it keeps a lot of the style of a stage play, which was not that uninteresting actually. So for example, person A was talked about for a while, and then the focus shifted to person B, and in between we kept getting little glimpses of person A again (who was still in the same room i.e. on stage), like “Person A is still doing this and that”. It really felt like stage directions or something.
Oh, now that I think about it, one big thing was that we did not get any inside views from anybody (as far as I remember), it was mainly descriptions of actions and situations. So really like on a stage where we are not able to read the actors’ minds, we can only see their actions. I think there is so much depth missing without that.
On top of that, the Japanese that was used was not that rich and expressive either… The first time I got annoyed by that was when the author introduced a new expression (姿を消す - to disappear (into another room)) which I found quite interesting, but the author literally used it five times over the course of three pages! (And small pages, with not too much text on them.) Also, he used quite long-winding descriptions of the characters and repeated them over and over again, e.g. something like “the man who sat in the corner reading a magazine”. Even later, when we got to know his name, he was referred to as “the man called Tom who sat in the corner reading a magazine”.
I know that other authors also have a habit of using long-ish descriptions of their characters (MORI Hiroshi ), and they also tend to repeat words and expressions sometimes, but the frequency just killed me.
So to be fair the writing was not “really, really bad” writing but maybe a bit boring and repetitive?