This is, I think, the second book I've read about distance running. I am wondering what my fascination with that is, although truly, I've read both because they came up on various lists. I, myself, am a walker. I love to go for long walks in the morning. Running does not as much appeal.
But then you get Haruki Murakami writing about his life
as a runner, and some about his life as a novelist, and it is
interesting. And yet, I'm still not entirely sure I get it. I enjoyed
reading about this life, but I feel some of the same distance I
sometimes perceive in Murakami's novels from his characters, in this
case from his own life. It's the gaze of someone looking from very far
away and trying to make sense of things. It's something I enjoy quite a
bit about his books.
But I'm not sure this one will stick with me as long as some of his novels have.
is interesting reading about preparation for various marathons, when
they've been successful in his eyes (so, in other words, when he
considers himself successful), and the inevitable changes that start to
occur as you get older, and your marathon times, not to mention
everything else, are simply going to take longer. What do you do when
you notice that things are simply slowing down, taking longer, taking
The grappling with mortality through the lens of
physical ability is probably the most interesting part of the book,
although hearing how he prepares to run triathlons, which he doesn't
really seem to like, was also a favourite.
All in all, I'm glad I
read this, for the brief glimpses it gave into Murakami and his
worldview, but that distance that works in his fiction doesn't work
quite so well in a memoir. Maybe I'd get more if I were a runner. He may
want "at least he never walked" on his tombstone, but that's the pace
I'm entirely happy to take.