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What I Talk About When I Talk About Running: A Memoir (Vintage International) Paperback – August 11, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
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.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Bookmarks Magazine
Haruki Murakami has established himself as one of the most interesting and innovative novelists of the last two decades, combining pop culture with a magic-realistic sensibility that has garnered the author a faithful following. What I Talk About When I Talk About Running couldn’t differ more from the rest of Murakami’s work. This slender volume catalogs the author’s love for that most solitary of athletic endeavors, though even Murakami’s prodigious talent as a writer can’t quite bridge the gap between the cultish world of hard-core running and a broader audience. This hit-and-miss effort—with something, literally, lost in the translation and some lazy writing—will be welcomed by a small (probably athletic) audience, but may not reach readers who aren’t already on board with Murakami or running.
Copyright 2008 Bookmarks Publishing LLC --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
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A fast read, it is a memoir of how he first became a runner and his perception on life. He's a bare-bones sort of guy, wants no embellishment and doesn't glamorize anything. He is practical on his outlook on life but has that part that all athletes can relate to: the training. I was intrigued by the fifth and sixth chapters because it became more introspective (the image of the young college students running past him, their strides reflecting their attitude that no one can beat them was especially poignant).
As an intro into his world and writing, I found the book a pleasant and welcome addition to my library as well as an inspiration. In the first chapter, the quote "pain is inevitable, suffering is optional" is something any endurance athlete can relate to. He asks for no pity when he doesn't do as well as he planned and hoped (which was more or less all of the competitions he wrote about) but being Japanese, for as much as he has wandered away from a Japanese style of writing, he is very much of a Japanese heart and therefore, writes in that mindset.
I do get the feeling that his other work is a bit different in style because here he adheres to the truth of how his competitions played out, how he felt and how hard he worked to reach that unattained goal. Perhaps I err but I felt that he felt more free because it was that much easier to write; I mean, he was there.
All in all, I would read another book of his. He is an honest writer and doesn't care what people think of this memoir. He just wanted to do it for himself and that gets high marks in my book.