Read from March 10 to 14, 2016.
ebook, 180 pages.
This was a peculiar book but I suppose it wouldn’t be true to Murakami’s style if it wasn’t a bit odd. What does make this book remarkable is how modest and accomplished Murakami is, and I’m not just saying that because I enjoy his novels.
While this book is the closest thing to memoir on Murakami’s life, it’s more of a reminiscence of his life and the decisions he made in terms of writing and how much of an impact running and fitness has played in his lifestyle and his success. Saying that Murakami is ambitious is a bit of understatement. The man has some solid resolve when it comes to his decisions. He opened up a jazz bar at a very young age an put all of his money and time into making it successful. While running this jazz bar he started writing. He published his first novel while still running the bar but was not satisfied. Murakami knew, like he did with his bar, that if he wanted to be successful at the writing he needed to give it his full attention and commitment. Despite everyone he knew thinking he was absolutely mad, Murakami closed his jazz bar and set off to write full time. From there Murakami made the most of his flexible schedule and began to start running. He reflects on how running has helped his writing process and success and details the struggles and failures of racing.
While I could never claim to be anywhere near as resilient or ambitious as Murakami, I felt that if I met the man, we would get a long. We have similar introverted qualities and run for the same reasons. He would describe certain situations about writing or people and I found myself thinking, “that’s me, that’s how I feel too”. It was a wonderful feeling to have this connection with Murakami and it perhaps explains why I enjoy his novels so much.
What made this book peculiar, is that it reads as if Murakami is having a casual conversation with you. It’s as if, the two of you sat down for coffee after going for a run, and you just happen ask him how he started running and writing. It’s a very welcoming read in that sense but the first section feels a bit strange as you adjust and immerse yourself in the style.His modesty with his racing accomplishments and dedication to writing contribute to this style.
While I don’t think Murakami intended this book to be inspirational, it most definitely is. Murakami gave 100% in whatever he chose to do, whether writing or running, and it has paid off for him. Many people don’t understand how challenging something like that can be. For example, when I started freelancing, I always felt like a fraud which held back my ability and desire to give myself fully into the profession. I didn’t commit 100%. While I found moderate success, it didn’t end up being something I could maintain full time unfortunately. However, I learned more than I can say about myself and know where my failings are for next time. I am not done with that path.
I would recommend this book to anyone aspiring to take a leap and commit to something they’ve always wanted, as well as any aspiring writers or passionate runners.