Haruki Murakami (2007). What I Talk About When I Talk About Runnig

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 slew of critically acclaimed books, he reflects upon the influence the sport has had on his life and on his writing. This revealing memoir covers his four-month preparation for the 2005 New York City Marathon, emerging a cornucopia 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. (amazon.co.uk)

Alastair Campbell (The Guardian, July 2008):
"Whatever respect I had for Haruki Murakami as a writer - which is considerable - it is as nothing to the depth of my bow down before the Japanese novelist on discovering that he has run an ultramarathon. His description of the physical and mental agonies as he struggled to complete the 62-mile course, followed by the near-religious experience of the last few miles, when he knew he was going to finish, is one of the highlights of what he calls "a kind of memoir". Non-running readers of his novels will probably ask: "Why on earth did he run 62 miles when he knew it would hurt so much?" Runners ask a different question: "Why have I never done that?"
He describes well the brutality of the "wall" that hits many runners a few miles out from the end of a marathon. The near-insanity of the running mind is captured in his first marathon, which he ran from Athens to Marathon with only a photographer for company. He is good on how a hill can seem nothing on a short training run but loom like a mountain if it comes at the wrong time in a race. And all runners will identify with the devotion to certain musicians who help with the endurance of long training runs, and his rough conversations with muscles that do not want to operate as instructed by the will and the brain: "I have to show my muscles who's boss."
The style is very clipped, many of the sentences short, so you feel the pace of the runner skipping through the text."

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