A bit late to the party but I finished the book as well!
Overall I must say I liked the first part a lot more, the second part had some serious drag around the middle… But the ending wrapped it up very nicely for me.
Hoshino and Nakata really turned more and more into a dream team. I really loved with how much respect they treated each other, and how they accepted and finally embraced each other’s strangenesses, culminating in Hoshino taking over some of Nakata’s strangenesses in the end, like talking to cats and stones. And when he said at the farewell that he will always think about what Nakata would say and do in any given situation, that was pretty much a moment.
With Kafka, when he was in the hut for the first time, I was really afraid he would go into the forest and do something stupid and get lost, but when he then finally went into the forest the second time around, it was totally clear to me that that was going to happen and I was totally fine with it.
Altogether, if I was to give an interpretation, for me the Hoshino/Nakata track was about respect and acceptance of others and being open to discovering unusual skills in people usually regarded as “dull” or “stupid”. The Kafka track was about growing up and building connections in the world, and also about losing connections and nonetheless preserving memories. He lost his family and all connections with his former world, but he found so many friends, like Oshima, Sakura, and of course he found his mother. In order to do this, Murakami drew some pretty drastic pictures, like Kafka had to go through this whole Oedipus thing, and his father / Johnny Walker had to be killed / maimed in cruel ways through two of his representatives. But especially the very last scenes of saying goodbye to Oshima and Sakura, and then returning to Tokyo, felt extremely wholesome to me.
Regarding Murakami books, I’ve only read 1Q84 so far, and I must say Kafka contains many many many more “Murakami scenes” compared to 1Q84, and it’s also much more violent. Not gonna lie, both aspects are also present in 1Q84, but I felt that it’s not so omnipresent. But maybe I just misremember, and also I read it in my native language, so my perception may be somewhat different.