This was definitely a different sort of memoir. I listened to this as an audio book, performed by Ray Porter and translated by Phillip Gabriel. This was the first thing that I have read from Haruki Murakami and I enjoyed it, even if his thoughts and reflections became tedious and more vague than anything truly concise.
This book is not your typical self reflective memoir. It’s not attempting to tell a story, sell you a theme, or give a strong message. Murakami tells you this within the first ten pages. What this memoir is about is running, writing, and time.
Obviously, there is plenty of talk about running based on the title, but it actually zeroes in on running to such a high degree that it might alienate most people not interested in the process of training for a marathon or the self care you must take in order to stay limber and stretched for a race. The talk on writing is secondary to all of this, but being that Murakami is an internationally celebrated writer, who is deeply influenced by Western culture, it is inescapable.
His thoughts on running and writing deeply resonated with me to such a degree that I might have to pick up running again. The idea of how running is self imposed suffering and how closely that mirrors the process of writing itself is a boon to me and I’m sure others. I believe this connection is key to understanding Murakami’s methodology about writing and even life and that comes all to a head by the end.
The intimacy to this journal of his, is somewhat limited, because it is part training journal. His reflections are focused on his performance and his thoughts on that, rather than anything else and that again, limits what we might have revealed about him, but a lot of this memoir is about reading in between the lines.
All things aside, I will say that I’m thinking about picking up running again, and I truly appreciated such an juxtaposition of running and writing in this brief book.