WHAT I TALK ABOUT WHEN I TALK ABOUT RUNNING by HARUKI MURAKAMI

When I turned the last page, after (I think) the 3rd time of reading this book, it was with the same sense of regret. I could read Mr. Murakami’s gentle unassuming words for ever.

He sounds so nice and reassuring and thoughtful. The kind of person I’d love to run with. Except that he prefers to run alone.

This delightful book is absolutely not only for runners – so do not be put off by the title. It is part memoir, part travelogue, part reflections on the craft of writing and yes, partly about the struggle to keep running long distances – especially as one grows older.

It is tranquil and reflective, and beautifully lyrical. Well, the English translation by Philip Gabriel is.

Mr. Murakami is modest about his achievements, both literary and sporting, and that is what makes him such a likeable writer. You share his doubts, you share his struggles with motivation, and as you join him on his long runs along the Charles River, or through the streets of central Tokyo, you see the world through his compassionate eyes.

For me, this book is both contemplative and inspiring. I’d love to be able to write as well, and run as well as this modest man.

Lovely book.

Every time I read Mr. Murakami’s book, there are new nuggets of wisdom. I find myself thinking of them when – like in these lockdown days – I struggle to run:

I’m no great runner, by any means. I’m at an ordinary—or perhaps more like mediocre—level. But that’s not the point. The point is whether or not I improved over yesterday. In long-distance running the only opponent you have to beat is yourself, the way you used to be.” 

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