The obvious high-concept pitch for this book to an English-speaking audience is "the Jane Austen of pre-WWII Japan". It's not completely accurate–the similarities are evident from the beginning, but divergences swiftly accumulate–but by then you're hooked, which is the point of a high-concept pitch. That's how it worked for me, at any rate.
The ending is ambiguous, to say the least. Not only is the reader carefully shielded from any but the most oblique hints about what Yukiko thinks about her husband (the anti-Mr. Darcy if there ever was one), but the whole future course of the war is basically still hanging over Japan, the Makioka sisters included
. Perhaps this reticence is the literary equivalent of Tanizaki's In Praise of Shadows.