My Thoughts on Haruki Murakami, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running
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The end of the race is just a temporary marker without much significance. It's the same with our lives. Just because there's an end doesn't mean existence has meaning.
I'm not a runner. I ran for a short period of time when I was in graduate school in Tucson, Arizona. I had recently lost a bunch of weight and wanted to lose more, and the only thing I could think to do that would really, surely challenge my body was to run. So I did. At first I could only run like half a block. Then, all the way around the block. I started in the winter, and by the time it started to get too hot to run in Tucson, I was running three miles a day. I was the kid that always had a note to excuse me from the mile in gym class, so this was quite an accomplishment. And then I stopped, and now I can't run around the block again. So it goes...
Murakami's book tells stories kind of like the one I just told, but his are better, and he runs a lot, and has for many years. The first half of the book ruminates on running, but it is also a memoir. I enjoyed learning a little about how Murakami came to be a novelist in this section. In the second half of the book, the focus on running, and in particular, on preparation for specific races, really increases. It is a short book, a little under two hundred pages, and the pacing is remarkably different than Murakami's twisting, turning fiction.
Some of my favorite passages in the book were those that made comparisons between Murakami's life as a runner and his life as a novelist. My least favorite where those in which Murakami discusses at length his insecurities and the reasons he is unlikeable (according to him anyway). I think that this book painted for me a very different picture of Murakami than I had imagined. There are some really curmudgeon-y passages here guys. I have read a few of his novels, and I have loved them. I didn't love this like I loved his fiction, but I am glad that I picked this up for the Murakami Challenge. I wasn't blown away by it, but I wanted something different, which is what I got.
Title: What I Talk About When I Talk About RunningAuthor: Haruki Murakami
Genre: Memoir, Sports
Where I got it: Bought for Kindle
Challenges: Haruki Murakami Reading Challenge