What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami

Opening sentence: “There’s a wise saying that goes like this: A real gentlemen never discusses women he’s broken up with or how much tax he’s paid.”

I am not a runner. But my mum is. She leant me this book, as she knows I am a fan of Murakami. When my mum ran the London Marathon in 2008, I went down to cheer her on and waiting close to the finish line by Buckingham Palace, I will never forget the the feeling of emotional euphoria that emanated from the runners as they had the end in their sights. It was such an amazing accomplishment for them and even as a spectator, it was impossible not to be moved and feel your eyes welling up. So, since then, I’ve always had so much admiration for people that choose to run marathons.

Murakami is an avid marathon runner, already completing 25 when he wrote this book in 2007. He is a passionate and dedicated to his running as he is to his writing. Written between 2005 – 2006, this book is a collection of Murakami’s thoughts as he is preparing for races or while he is running them. He has done some pretty incredible things – in 1983 he ran from Athens to Marathon, completing his first ever marathon along the original, iconic route. He also ran an ultramarathon – all 62 (!!!) miles of it. My brain can’t even begin to imagine running that far!

I love how he also reveals insights about his writing, including how he became an author, “I can pinpoint the exact moment when I first thought I could write a novel. It was around one thirty in the afternoon of April 1, 1978. I was at Jingu Stadium that day, alone in the outfield drinking beer and watching the game.” It was as easy as that! It just popped into his head, and off he went writing novels. That’s not to say he doesn’t work hard as a novelist, but I love how organically his writing career began. Effortless, just like the tone through all of his novels.

As I enjoy his stories so much, it was lovely finding out a bit more about the author and what drives him. This is a book that can be enjoyed by runners and non-runners alike.

Rating: 4/5

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