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oh lucky you! the others are so much better :o) they don't need to be read in order or anything, but i'd suggest trying to do so. i remember thinking that some of the later ones tended to "explain" in a certain way some of the earlier ones (not completely, and not directly, but there seemed to be references at times).

(also, from what i remember, the third volume of 1q84 was most like his other works - i almost stopped after the 2nd and was glad i continued).

ps on translation - i don't think that would make this one so different to the others (which are also translated). i do agree that murakamis books feel translated (like you could guess they were translated if you were given one and didn't know what it was), but that seems to be just something about either translated books or authors that work well in translation (or may just be me imagining things). i don't think i have ever read a book in both the original language and a translation, but i know that roberto bolano, who was recently very big in english translation, reads like a translated author in the original (if you see what i mean)...

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