Haruki Murakami was born in Kyoto in 1949 and now lives near Tokyo. His work has been translated into forty-two languages. The most recent of his many honors is the Franz Kafka Prize.
Murakami is neither a conventional novelist nor a conventional memoirist. In this work whose title was inspired by Raymond Carver's short story collection What We Talk About When We Talk About Love, he explores how running has shaped his life. The best memoirs inform readers and enlighten them; this memoir contains practical philosophy from a man whose insight into his own character, and how running both suits and shapes that character, is revelatory and can provide tools for readers to examine and improve their own lives. Murakami wrote most of it between 2005 and 2006, but a key chapter from 1996 reinforces his later examination of his own development and the cadence of his life. This book will be appreciated by runners (as well as Murakami's usual readership) because it is ostensibly about running, but anyone interested in the processes of writing and self-examination will also be well served by it. Highly recommended for all collections. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 3/1/08.]--Audrey Snowden, Cleveland P.L. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
Murakami's latest is a nonfiction work mostly concerned with his thoughts on the long-distance running he has engaged in for much of his adult life. Through a mix of adapted diary entries, old essays, reminiscences and life advice, Murakami crafts a charming little volume notable for its good-natured and intimate tone. While the subject matter is radically different from the fabulous and surreal fiction that Murakami (The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle) most often produces, longtime readers will recognize the source of the isolated, journeying protagonists of the author's novels in the formative running experiences recounted. Murakami's insistence on focusing almost exclusively on running can grow somewhat tedious over the course of the book, but discrete, absorbing episodes, such as a will-breaking 62-mile "ultramarathon" and a solo re-creation of the historic first marathon in Greece serve as dynamic and well-rendered highlights. Murakami offers precious little insight into much of his life as a writer, but what he does provide should be of value to those trying to understand the author's long and fruitful career. 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. (Aug.) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
"A fascinating portrait of Murakami's working mind and how he works his magic on the page." --The Plain Dealer"A brilliant meditation on how his running and writing nurture and sustain each other. . . . With spare, engaging prose . . . Murakami shares his runner's high." --Sports Illustrated"Enthralling. . . . A quirky, brilliant gem."--Time Out New York"Murakami's descriptive eye is as acute as ever. . . . Fascinating. . . . A glimpse into the creative process of one of the world's great writers." --The Hartford Courant"A genuine memoir, filled with gentle minutiae that truly communicates the rhythm of Murakami's daily life and work...Murakami actually offers himself whole." --Jesse Jarnow, Paste Magazine"A felicitous, casual series of reflections and anecdotes...[Murakami] has a Warholian way of tinting the mundane with mystery and restrained humor...Do still waters run deep? This paean to a runner's life keeps us, pleasurably, wondering." --Joel Rice, The Tennessean"[What I Talk About When I Talk About Running is] a graceful explanation of Mr. Murakami's intertwining obsessions, conveyed with his characteristic ability to draw unexpected connections. Running may be a matter of placing one foot in front of the other on the ground, but, as is so often the case with Mr. Murakami, terrestrial objects have a tendency to take flight." --Chloï¿½ Schama, New York Sun"Beautifully written and full of great running aphorisms...Anyone who knows perseverance can appreciate this work." --Helen Montoya, San Antonio Express-News"Engaging, insightful...What I Talk About When I Talk About Running extends [Murakami's] winning streak." --Jenny Shank, Sunday Camera"Murakami constructs this piecemeal narrative with the same masterful, accessible prose marked by humor and streaks of magic which has made him a household name, the same staggering insights, the same fascinating connections...this is exactly what makes Murakami so special: his ability to render everything a part of everything else, and to end with monumental poignancy...In an extremely personal, candid and moving way, the book makes one want to read and run at the same time." --Reynard Seifert, Austin Fit Magazine"[What I Talk About When I Talk About Running] provides a fascinating portrait of Murakami's working mind and how he works his magic on the page...[a] charming, sober little book." --John Freeman, Newark Star-Ledger"Highly recommended...Practical philosophy from a man whose insight into his own character, and how running both suits and shapes that character, is revelatory and can provide tools for readers to examine and improve their own lives."--Library Journal