What I talk about when I talk about running A memoir

Haruki Murakami, 1949-

Book - 2008

In 1982, having sold his jazz bar to devote himself to writing, Murakami began running to keep fit. A year later, he'd completed a solo course from Athens to Marathon, and now, after dozens of such races, not to mention triathlons and a dozen critically acclaimed books, he reflects upon the influence the sport has had on his life and-- even more important-- on his writing.--From publisher description.

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Subjects
Published
New York, NY : Alfred A. Knopf 2008.
Edition
1st U.S. ed
Language
English
Japanese
Item Description
Originally published: Tokyo : Bungeishunjū, Ltd., 2007.
"A Borzoi book"--T.p. verso.
Physical Description
vii, 179 p. ; 20 cm
ISBN
9780307269195
0307269191
Main Author
Haruki Murakami, 1949- (-)
Other Authors
Philip Gabriel, 1953- (-)
Review by Booklist Reviews

Aspects of Murakami's sensibility, such as his love of music, can be discerned in his highly imaginative novels and short stories, yet it is startling to meet the author of such reality-warping works as The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle (1997) face-to-face in this beguiling and generous "memoir centered on the act of running." Murakami began running soon after he sold his Tokyo jazz club to write full time. Now, more than a dozen books and 20 marathons later, he considers the ways running engenders "focus and endurance, qualities essential for writing." The propelling story line is Murakami's account of his rigorous training for the 2005 New York marathon. But he drops back often to recount such adventures as his exhausting run in Greece between Athens and Marathon and the unexpected repercussions of an ultramarathon (62 miles). He also ponders the frustrations and revelations of age and shares his love for American literature, including Raymond Carver's What We Talk about When We Talk about Love (1981), which inspired the title of this meditative book of life lessons, artistic revelations, and humble self-analysis. "Most of what I know about writing I've learned through running every day," writes Murakami, a splendidly creative and compassionate writer who lives a disciplined life in order to infuse his fiction with wildness. Copyright 2008 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

If we all ran like brilliant Japanese novelist Murakami, would we write as well as he does? Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

Murakami is neither a conventional novelist nor a conventional memoirist. In this work whose title was inspired by Raymond Carver's short story collection What We Talk About When We Talk About Love , he explores how running has shaped his life. The best memoirs inform readers and enlighten them; this memoir contains practical philosophy from a man whose insight into his own character, and how running both suits and shapes that character, is revelatory and can provide tools for readers to examine and improve their own lives. Murakami wrote most of it between 2005 and 2006, but a key chapter from 1996 reinforces his later examination of his own development and the cadence of his life. This book will be appreciated by runners (as well as Murakami's usual readership) because it is ostensibly about running, but anyone interested in the processes of writing and self-examination will also be well served by it. Highly recommended for all collections. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 3/1/08.]—Audrey Snowden, Cleveland P.L. [Page 69]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Murakami's latest is a nonfiction work mostly concerned with his thoughts on the long-distance running he has engaged in for much of his adult life. Through a mix of adapted diary entries, old essays, reminiscences and life advice, Murakami crafts a charming little volume notable for its good-natured and intimate tone. While the subject matter is radically different from the fabulous and surreal fiction that Murakami (The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle ) most often produces, longtime readers will recognize the source of the isolated, journeying protagonists of the author's novels in the formative running experiences recounted. Murakami's insistence on focusing almost exclusively on running can grow somewhat tedious over the course of the book, but discrete, absorbing episodes, such as a will-breaking 62-mile "ultramarathon" and a solo re-creation of the historic first marathon in Greece serve as dynamic and well-rendered highlights. Murakami offers precious little insight into much of his life as a writer, but what he does provide should be of value to those trying to understand the author's long and fruitful career. An early section recounting Murakami's transition from nightclub owner to novelist offers a particularly vivid picture of an artist soaring into flight for the first time. (Aug.) [Page 43]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

In a revealing memoir, the award-winning Japanese writer recalls his four-month preparation for the 2005 New York City marathon, interweaving his reflections on the meaning of running in his life, his thoughts on the writing process and career, his greatest triumphs and disappointments, and his experiences as an author and as an athlete. 40,000 first printing.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

The Japanese writer recalls his four-month preparation for the 2005 New York City marathon, interweaving his reflections on the meaning of running in his life, his thoughts on the writing process and his career, and his experiences as an author and as an athlete.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

In 1982, having sold his jazz bar to devote himself to writing, Murakami began running to keep fit. A year later, he'd completed a solo course from Athens to Marathon, and now, after dozens of such races, not to mention triathlons and a dozen critically acclaimed books, he reflects upon the influence the sport has had on his life and - even more important - on his writing.Equal parts training log, travelogue, and reminiscence, this revealing memoir covers his four-month preparation for the 2005 New York City Marathon and takes us to places ranging from Tokyo's Jingu Gaien gardens, where he once shared the course with an Olympian, to the Charles River in Boston among young women who outpace him. Through this marvelous lens of sport emerges a panorama of memories and insights: the eureka moment when he decided to become a writer, his greatest triumphs and disappointments, his passion for vintage LPs, and the experience, after fifty, of seeing his race times improve and then fall back.By turns funny and sobering, playful and philosophical, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running is rich and revelatory, both for fans of this masterful yet guardedly private writer and for the exploding population of athletes who find similar satisfaction in distance running.

Review by Publisher Summary 4

In 1982, having sold his jazz bar to devote himself to writing, Murakami began running to keep fit. A year later, he’d completed a solo course from Athens to Marathon, and now, after dozens of such races, not to mention triathlons and a dozen critically acclaimed books, he reflects upon the influence the sport has had on his life and—even more important—on his writing.Equal parts training log, travelogue, and reminiscence, this revealing memoir covers his four-month preparation for the 2005 New York City Marathon and takes us to places ranging from Tokyo’s Jingu Gaien gardens, where he once shared the course with an Olympian, to the Charles River in Boston among young women who outpace him. Through this marvelous lens of sport emerges a panorama of memories and insights: the eureka moment when he decided to become a writer, his greatest triumphs and disappointments, his passion for vintage LPs, and the experience, after fifty, of seeing his race times improve and then fall back.By turns funny and sobering, playful and philosophical, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running is rich and revelatory, both for fans of this masterful yet guardedly private writer and for the exploding population of athletes who find similar satisfaction in running.