Murakami is a Japanese author and one of the world’s most celebrated novelists. In fact, I’ve just started his magnum opus, 19Q4, and so far I’m hooked. His nonfiction work on running, however, left me wanting more. It’s a shame, too, because I had high expectations.
I love running. After several years off, I ran a half-marathon, and I’m keen to do more in the future. If that weren’t enough, I have a fiction project myself, in the back of my mind, about a runner, which was one reason I wanted to read Murakami’s What I Talk About When I Talk About Running.
It had its moments. There were insights about running, scattered here and there, but I just didn’t really see much of an overarching narrative. I couldn’t find a story, and in the end I felt like I was reading over Murakami’s shoulder as he journaled about his day-to-day training and his responses to his marathon races.
There was one other thing. Murakami did sprinkle in some thoughts on writing, and as a writer I ever-always am extremely intrigued by what writers think of writing. It redeemed the work, kinda-sorta, and on balance I’m glad I read it, but I can’t say that I’d recommend it. And with that, I return to reading 19Q4.