Were this Murakami’s first novel, it’s doubtful he’d find a publisher.
Whilst the translation is pretty good, the translator is perhaps too true to the original Japanese; words at times seem clunky, but (having a knowledge of the Japanese language) I believe that that is because the translator is faithfully translating directly from the Japanese. Unfortunately, words and phrases often used in everyday Japanese do not have the same frequency or acceptance their English versions do.
On how formal education, learning, improving oneself, doesn’t always make things better…
[looking at some paintings hanging in a restaurant after having previously looked at some much superior painting by a master in a gallery]
“If he hadn’t looked into the windows of the Galerie Gagnon, Jean-Guy might have thought these [restaurant paintings] were quite good. But he had looked. And now he knew the difference. Part of him regretted that. He might now like better things, but he also liked fewer.”