i thought it was bad translation but nope, i got the japanese edition of the first book from the library and read through it and it was just as dull and dry.
(Edit: March 8, 2014)
I feel like I should add to this because I'm thinking about it now.
I hate Murakami Haruki.
I read Soft Boiled Wonderland blah blah blah and it was okay. But now I have realized, all of his stories are the same. fucking. stories. A straight male novelist, a handful of cliches for a straight female love interest, needless sex scenes trying too hard to be philosophical or meaningful when its obviously just Murakami jerking it to his own writing, unnecessary rape and death of female characters.
1Q84 had child rape out of nowhere. The plot could have done without the details on pre-pubescent girls being raped. But noooooo we need to include really disturbing and disgusting, triggering content out of nowhere to be mature and edgy.
I don't know why I didn't toss the book when he started going on about the breasts of a 17 year old.
It irritates me to no end that THIS is the pre-eminent novelist of Japan that Western readers know and apparently love. This... sexist crapheap who can not even string together invigorating sentences in Japanese, which bad English translators make even worse.
Speaking of the English translation, I hate the choice to translate ドーター＆マーザー（Literally just 'daughter' and 'mother' transliterated) as 'dohta' and 'maza.' That's not even translating, it's transliteration of transliteration. There are more clever ways to go about this but this way was just badly thought-out, lazy, especially because Japanese readers would have an idea of what English words were being used but the romaji version would be completely undecipherable to the majority of English readers, who have zero background knowledge or Japanese phonetics or romaji.
There's authors like 松浦理英子 and her surrealist novels but no one outside Japan has ever even heard of them. But Murakami continues to garner attention and praise for churning out the same tired old tropes and cliches. BLLUUUUUUUUH.