Settings range from Tokyo, where he once shared the course with an Olympian, to the Charles River in Boston, among young women who outpace him.
Through this marvelous lens of sport emerges a cornucopia of memories and insights: the eureka moment when he decided to become a writer, his triumphs and disappointments, his passion for vintage LPs, and the experience, after age 50, of having seen his race times improve and then fall back.
Translated by Philip Gabriel.
©2007 Haruki Murakami; (P)2008 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
"Murakami crafts a charming little volume notable for its good-natured and intimate tone....An early section recounting Murakami's transition from nightclub owner to novelist offers a particularly vivid picture of an artist soaring into flight for the first time." (Publishers Weekly)
"A brilliant meditation on how his running and writing nurture and sustain each other....With sparse, engaging prose....Murakami shares his runner's high." (Sports Illustrated)
"Provides a fascinating portrait of Murakami's working mind and how he works his magic on the page." (The Plain Dealer)
on a quest to read Audible's entire nonfiction science section...
Perhaps if you've read Mr. Murakami's previous works this would be of greater interest to you but, as someone who has not, I was unmoved by this book. I finished about 2-3 weeks ago and I recall few moments of epiphany or inspiration nor have I referred to it in any of my conversations recently. The writing is eloquent and introspective but, in the end, too personal to offer many insights to this reader who is unfamiliar with his novels.
Having said that, I only got this because a friend of mine who admires this author's previous books really enjoyed it. We are both running/exercising enthusiasts and writers of one ilk or another so hopefully I've offered some insights that are helpful as you consider this selection.
This is a lovely autobiography with a running theme, I listened to it more than once.
I was completely enthralled, but I am a runner and a writer. Even though I could relate at that level, there were times when the detail on the process of running and/or writing and/or triathalon training got to be a little too much. Overall, I was very intrigued and thought some of the lessons he applies, and the way he looks at life, if this memoir to be stunning and universal, so I couldn't stop listening...like I can't stop running...like I can't stop writing.
Written over the course of several months in 2005 as Murakami prepared for the New York City Marathon, this memoir is about more than just running—though it is most certainly about the mindset of a long-distance runner and the type of commitment and life a dedicated runner leads. The book is just as much about aging, being a novelist and Murakami himself. Providing an insight into the kind of person Murakami is while also sharing his particular worldview, this memoir is a must-read for his fans and runners alike.
After being unjustly accused of stealing this book from my brother, I downloaded the audio version from Audible, and I’m actually glad I did. I listened to it while walking my dog, and it was a perfect fit. The memoir unfolds in a meandering, stream of consciousness way that was fulfilling and gave me much food for thought as I walked. Listening to it while outside and active seemed like the ideal way to fully appreciate the book—giving me a view into the experience of running as I simulated it on a much slower and less punishing level.
I liked that the book wasn’t just focused on running. Many times, Murakami asserts that running and being a novelist are two similar activities. In fact, he began long-distance running when he decided to become a novelist, and the two have gone hand-in-hand ever since. As Murakami says, you have to be a certain type of person to be a novelist and a long-distance runner—one who has the stamina and endurance to go the distance, whether in a marathon or in a long-form novel. The process for both is often punishing and requires significant training and preparation. Both require a significant amount of pain.
In addition, since Murakami wrote the book later in life, it often muses on the process of aging—when you realize that no matter what you do, your body is just not going to respond as well as it once did. Coming to terms with this is one of the main themes of the book, and I think Murakami’s attitude of acceptance but unwillingness to stop pushing himself is one that we should all consider.
For people searching for a narrative about running, the memoir also provides detailed information about Murakami’s extensive running experiences—from his participation in an ultramarathon (which ended up becoming an almost out-of-body experience) to his recent decision to do triathalons. He also discusses the rhythms, pleasures, pain, and solitary nature of long-distance running.
ABOUT THE NARRATION
Ray Porter was an excellent narrator. He read with a commitment that made it seem as if he had written these words himself. In fact, it felt like someone talking to you rather than someone reading another person’s book. The translation from Japanese must have been top-notch too as I found the language to be wonderfully lucid and flowing. After hearing so much about the strangeness and weirdness of Murakami’s fiction, I feel relieved that he was so accessible in this book. Hopefully this is the start of a beautiful relationship between the two of us.
Recommended for: Murakami fans, runners and those who appreciate well-written memoirs.
I run occasionally, but wouldn't consider myself a "runner," yet still greatly enjoyed this book. Murakami's style is straightforward--more like a conversation than his occasional stylistic excesses. Also, goes far beyond running into its relation to writing and life in general. I'd recommend it, even if you're not a fan of Murakami, as it is not a typical book for him. It's easily accessible and enjoyable.
I haven't been on and off with running for years. One of my mentors is an Ironman triathlete and I had tried to follow his footsteps in vain. During my flight to San Francisco, I listen to this book. Once I landed, I was convinced that I need to make running part of my life routine. Everybody know or heard about benefit of running, but Mr. Murakami's own story give me a very strong belief that any healthy person can run long distance, and that habit will make a person's life change in better direction.Now, I have been running at around 5km a day, 6 days a weeks for months. The distance is gradually increasing and I hope some day I will be able to run a half-marathon, and then a marathon. Until those days, I will keep running.
I haven't read the print version so I can't make an informed choice.
I liked how the running helped him become a disciplined writer and gave structure to his life.
One in which he noticed other regular runners in his running time/spot and befriends them in his mind.
Why is it that I cannot get enough Zombie Books?
memoir. only one real character
no I haven't
yes it was
will listen to it again and again.
Livin, Lovin Life; especially at the beach...
Unique, interesting and informative...
I liked it
An intriguing story and one that offers a unique perspective on running, marathons and USA
Enjoyable if not intended to be motivational - a sound and interesting story
Running, Growing Old, Philosophy for Life
The author is definitely a serious long distance runner, but he is also definitely not a professional. I believe many people fall into this category. The author works this type of amateur long distance running into a philosophy for life.
No. The book is repetitive at times and I thought it could use some better editing.
I am a fan of Murakami's fiction, but this book would appeal to anybody.
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