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7th Decade Thoughts

Thoughts about books, politics and history (personal and otherwise), pictures I've taken and pictures I've edited.

Monday, September 13, 2010

What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami

I enjoyed this short book even though I've not much interested in running or racing (or swimming or biking competitively for that matter). I thought it was honest and certainly not overblown. I felt like I got to know the person a bit more and since I've liked everything by him I've read--some of it among the best contemporary novels I've read--I liked learning more about the person.

This book doesn't by any means give a total picture of his life. For example, he mentions a "wife" fairly often and occasionally gives the reader tidbits about her, but we don't know her name or much about her at all: she came from a family with business sense, she encourages him in all his races, she had a swimming coach whom he subsequently used and liked. I presume it's been the same wife all along. 

I does tell me about how he decided to become a novelist and how he works, without, though, ever discussing his work. The only titles he even mentions are early novels and Blink Willow Sleeping Woman and that only in the context of having to write an intro for the collection of stories. Still I know more about the man writing that I do about most writers through memoirs.

Running--the way he goes about training and "performing"--becomes a metaphor for his writing process. I also liked that his priorities were clear. If a race that might take even more prep presents itself he may decline on the basis that his reason for running was to be healthy and fit enough to write novels into his old age.

I like that he's stubborn and persistent and private and doesn't try much to be anything else.

I'd rate it 9/10 as memoirs go.

3 Comments:

OpenID whisperinggums said...

Nice review Susan ... I enjoyed this a lot too BUT I was hoping to learn more about why we writes the sorts of books he does.

10/05/2010 07:20:00 AM  
Blogger Susannah said...

A writer writes what he wants in a memoir. Murakami writes about process and is not very personally revealing, is he?

10/05/2010 10:07:00 AM  
OpenID whisperinggums said...

No ... and perhaps that is revealing in itself! I think he's a very private person. (Me, coming back a couple of months later!)

1/02/2011 07:06:00 AM  

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