HERE IS A WONDERFUL BOOK FOR EVERY WRITER, RUNNER, WRITING RUNNER, RUNNING WRITER, AND JUST PLAIN READER ON YOUR CHRISTMAS LIST.
ALISON HALLETT REVIEWED THE MEMOIR IN THE PORTLAND MERCURY:
Every now and then a memoir comes along that bracingly dispenses with the idea that being a writer involves some alchemical combination of alcohol, cigarettes, a Moleskine, and divine inspiration. Haruki Murakami's new book, What I Talk about When I Talk about Running, is such a memoir: Murakami here treats long-distance running as both a routine that has physically sustained him for more than 20 years, and a metaphor for his workhorse approach to writing.
The book is loosely structured around Murakami's training for the New York City Marathon, but it loops and skips in time, from his early years operating a jazz club through his decision to become a writer and more recent efforts to learn to swim and cycle competitively in order to participate in triathlons. The connection between writing and running is made explicit more than once:
"Most of what I know about writing I've learned through running every day," he tells us. "These are practical, physical lessons. How much can I push myself? How much rest is appropriate—and how much is too much? How far can I take something and still keep it decent and consistent?" He goes on: "I know that if I hadn't become a long-distance runner when I became a novelist, my work would have been vastly different."
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