What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Haruki Murakami's "What I Talk About When I Talk About Running" is indeed mainly about running. Mr. Murakami, a famous Japanese writer, for several years one of the main favorites to win the Nobel prize in literature, is an accomplished long-distance runner. During the 23-year running career he finished 24 marathons and one ultramarathon, a 100-kilometer (62 miles) run.
I love long-distance running too, but I am very, very far from Mr. Murakami's class. Still, even being a quasi-runner I can relate to most of what the author writes about. Running as a way of getting rid of stress works for me too; the more I run, the more unhappiness I am getting rid of. Similarly to Mr. Murakami, I approach running as a craft of pain management. As I am a little older than he was at the time of writing the book, I share his resignation that we will not run fast in our fifties and sixties. Our bodies will not let us, even if the spirit is still willing.
In the most interesting fragment Mr. Murakami writes about how he handled extreme physical pain during the ultramarathon near Saroma Lake on Hokkaido. Also, there is a nice story of his 1983 run from Athens to Marathon that copied, in the opposite direction, the famous run of Pheidippides, a messenger from the battle of Marathon, 2500 years ago in Greece.
I have read the book in a non-English translation so I am unable to comment on writing. I love one sentence, though, and I wonder how the English translator handled it: "The fact that a life ends does not mean that it has had any meaning." So sadly true.
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