Rating - Read
And what a person he is. I had somehow envisioned Murakami as an old and wise Japanese guy, with withered hands, wise eyes, long white hair tied into a pony, and a thin, frail, mien. A man who slowly and sincerely wrote in a notebook, sitting in a house located in a picturesque place in Japan, while wearing a slightly flashy traditional dress (Even as I write this, I realise I sound like one of those people who think that everyone in India does the rope trick and has a pet snake).Anyway, assuming he was more likely to be the type who carried the latest notepad and wore normal everyday clothes (considering the Japanese are considered to be 10 years ahead of the rest of the world), what I did not expect was to learn that he was passionate about running.
Murakami makes it quite clear, that he is first of all a writer. He runs in the time he has, over and above his writing and is not a professional runner at all. But for an amateur runner, he does very well. Having started running in his 30s, he has taken part in several marathons and started participating in triathlons sometime from his 40s. Every year, he does a marathon in the winter and a triathlon in the summer. The book covers his training while preparing for the 2005 New York City Marathon. Murakami talks not just about this race, but also about the preparations and the various races he has participated in, the feeling of doing long-distance running where you are competing mostly against yourself, the sincerity and discipline that is needed to keep going and the feelings that come during a race. In between, he also digresses into life in general, and his writings.All of it is interesting reading despite being about experiences which an average bloke is unlikely to have in a lifetime. Murakami goes about quietly cataloguing the hours he puts in, the people he runs with, the places he lives and works in. I especially liked reading his descriptions of his body, as a machine independent of the author’s mind.
Presumably runners would be able to identify with it a lot more than I can. Infact, the book was bought for D, who participated in a half marathon for the first time last year. Yet, non-runners like me have been brought closer to the strange world of plodding on and on.