(This is what he wanted on his gravestone)
1949 – 20**
Writer (and Runner)
At Least He Never Walked
Author – Haruki Murakami.
ISBN – 9780099526155.
Price – Rs 450.
Number of pages – 179.
Genre – Autobiography of the phase of his musing with running.
About the author
Haruki Murakami is a writer of Japanese origin. He has written numerous books and stories and have been a best seller throughout the world. He has won a number of prestigious awards like Franz Kafka Prize and Jerusalem Prize. His work has been translated in 50 languages.
Apart from writing, he is a serious runner, having participated in a number of marathons, triathlons and a 100km ultramarathon race.
About the book
I wanted to read Haruki Murakami’s work since a long time when I was told about one of his book by Anubha(she is a contributor in the Nutrition section) called Kafka on the Shore(I ordered it yesterday itself). I got hold of What I Talk When I Talk About Running and was too eager to get going. When I went to Gangtok a couple of weeks back during my 15th week of training for Bhatti Lakes 100k, I got a chance to read it. And I was pleased beyond mention.
The book is a sort of memoir of Haruki Murakami when he closed his pub and focused on writing and running. He starts the book with first chapter on August 5, 2005 and finishes on October 1, 2006. Almost more than a year of writing about running. Though the book is a mere 179 page one but it presents quite a reading.
I am not privy to the writing style of the author in his other books but this book is easy to read and one doesn’t have to sit with an dictionary to decipher it. It’s written in a style where you will almost feel that Haruki is talking to you.
I’m not a human. I’m a piece of machinery. I don’t need to feel a thing. Just forge on ahead. – Mantra used by the Author during runs.
The author doesn’t bring out his life as done in traditional memoirs or biographies. But over a period of almost a year, he writes about running, what he feels about it, how he feels for it, what he observes during his runs and how his age is bringing a change in him with respect to his running performance. He brings out beautifully the emotions which are attached to his running ritual.
There are a couple of race reports in the book like that of his run of marathon distance from Athens to Marathon and Lake Saroma 100k. The reports are very interesting to read and he has presented them in the most philosophical way, we runners want to read in. I was glad I read this before my first 100k i.e Bhatti Lakes 100k in October this year.
I am not going to divulge much about the book here but I will say as a runner, one should read this one. This is not a guide book but you may find some pointers or get some inspiration. This book glorifies and at the same time simplifies the simple act of putting one foot in front of another.
I will recommend this book to all the runners and non runners equally. A must read if you are looking to read simply about running and the emotion attached to it. I loved it and I surely hope, you will to.
Till then stay fit and keep running.