On running and writing

2008-11-19 00:00

HARUKI Murakami is known as a funky, somewhat flakey Japanese novelist whose style is impossible to pigeonhole. He’s a perennial Nobel outsider, a translater of Raymond Carver, from whose book of short stories What We Talk About When We Talk About Love he has borrowed his title, and, one would think, the most unlikely running fanatic in the world.

This is not a treatise on staying healthy, as he’s quick to point out. It is, however, very much about running, its role as a mainstay of his life, and, inevitably, its meditative addictiveness. Murakami gives detailed accounts of races he’s run around the world from sweltering Athens to chilly Boston, how he tries to maintain his time in the face of advancing age and how absolutely horrible running sometimes can be.

Woven through the calendar of running, is an account of his life. At the age of 30 he was running a successful jazz club (he’s also a fanatical collector of classic records) when he decided to sell up and become a novelist. “I’ll give it everything I’ve got for two years,’’ he told his wife, “and then if it doesn’t work, we’ll buy another club.’’ It worked, and he’s been writing ever since, making his mark with works such as Kafka On The Shore and Sputnik Sweetheart.

What I Talk About When I Talk About Running is also in part a meditation on the writing process, personal meaning and mortality. Weighty topics but dealt with matter-of-factly in an easy, conversational style.

Yves Vanderhaeghen

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.