Like most of the Japanese fiction that I have read this is delicate and precise. As such you have to read it slowly and absorb it carefully.
It is really a very simple love story and basically a novella rather than a novel, at least in form if not technically. The characterization is extremely well done and the language is very beautiful. There are many lovely scenes, including a wonderful erotic scene by a fireplace. It's title suits it perfectly because the sight and sounds of the sea infuse the novel from cover to cover.
I rate books harshly, so that is part of the reason that I am rating this book so low. However, the main reason is that I just cannot see this book staying with me. It is beautiful, but in the end slight.
Worth reading, but not a must read by any stretch of the imagination.