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What I Talk About When I Talk About Running



Translated by Philip Gabriel

US Publication:
Hardcover: 192 pages
Publisher: Knopf (29th July 2008)
ISBN-13: 978-0307269195

Paperback: 192 pages
Publisher: Vintage (11th August 2009)
ISBN-13: 978-0307389831

UK Publication:
Hardcover: 112 pages
Publisher: Harvill Secker (7 Aug 2008) ISBN-13: 978-1846552205

Paperback: 192 pages
Publisher: Vintage (2nd April 2009)
ISBN-13: 978-0099526155

"Most people, though, only see the surface reality of writing and think of writers as involved in quiet, intellectual work done in their study. If you have the strength to lift a coffee cup, they figure, you can write a novel. But once you try your hand at it, you soon find that it isn’t as peaceful a job as it seems."


In 1982, having sold his jazz bar to devote himself to writing, Murakami began running to keep fit. A year later, he'd completed a solo course from Athens to Marathon, and now, after dozens of such races, not to mention triathlons and a slew of critically acclaimed books, he reflects upon the influence the sport has had on his life and - even more important - on his writing. Equal parts training log, travelogue, and reminiscence, this revealing memoir covers his four-month preparation for the 2005 New York City Marathon and settings ranging from Tokyo's Jingu Gaien gardens, where he once shared the course with an Olympian, to the Charles River in Boston among young women who outpace him.

Through this marvelous lens of sport emerges a cornucopia of memories and insights: the eureka moment when he decided to become a writer, his greatest triumphs and disappointments, his passion for vintage LPs, and the experience, after fifty, of seeing his race times improve and then fall back.By turns funny and sobering, playful and philosophical, "What I Talk About When I Talk About Running" is rich and revelatory, both for fans of this masterful yet guardedly private writer and for the exploding population of athletes who find similar satisfaction in distance running. (

First Chapter excerpt from the Random House site



Marathon man - Alastair Campbell from the Guardian reviews ....running: "........ along the way we learn little things about Murakami the writer and Murakami the man. We get an insight into doubts and insecurities when he first started out as a writer, and what he sees as a novelist's greatest qualities - number one is talent, then focus, then endurance"

A marathon man of letters - Haruki Murakami runs miles every day to keep fit for writing. Here he combines his two loves - The Observer review by Jason Cowley

Raging Biblioholism's Review

Murakami's book intersects his writing, running pursuits - The Hartford Courant by Dan Pope

Julian Ferraro discovers what happens when a celebrated novelist pounds the pavements rather than the keyboard - Daily Telegraph

Murakami sticks to his subject in What I Talk About When I Talk About Running - Straght Vancouver review by Michael Hingston

The Times review by Russell Celyn Jones

New York The Sun's review by By Chloë Schama

New review by Bill Kohlhaase from The Cabbage Rabbit Review of Books and Music

Some nice pictures of Murakami running from

What I Talk About When I Talk About Repetition - In his memoir, Haruki Murakami runs ideas into left field and runs readers out of their minds - Asia Pacific Arts review by Ian Shaikh

Running on empty - in his new memoir, Haruki Murakami reflects on life as a ‘running novelist’ and ponders the meaning of a marathon. Youssef Rakha logs his discontent with the great storyteller’s descent into pop wisdom - The National (UAE) review

The Brooklyn Rail review by Zoe Slutzky

V V: Murakami's Marathons - The India Business Standard review

Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami writes about his love of long-distance running - The Christian Science Monitor review by Marjorie Kehe

The Minnesota Reads review by Christa

Haruki Murakami, strong-thighed obsessive: Do the Japanese novelist's running habits reveal anything about his writing? Or, in fact, anything at all? The Times review by Stefan Collini

Popmatters review by Dan Deluca

Is this that loneliness of a long distance runner? Hindustan Times review by Sanjay Sipahimalani

Random thoughts enter runner's mind - Montreal Gazzette review by Lisa Fitterman

Haruki Murakami thinks about running to save his life - Brisbane Courier Mail review by Matthew Condon

Making a run for a second life, on the double - The Oregonian review by Jeff Baker

The Week In Books: Aspiration, inspiration, perspiration - The Independent by Boyd Tonkin

Murakami Reveals Life as a Runner - The Korea Times review by Cathy Rose A. Garcia

BRIEFLY REVIEWS - San Antonio Express-News brief review by Helen Montoya

Murakami compares writing, running in new memoir - Daily Camera review by Jenny Shank

Japanese runner-writer Haruki Murakami bridges athletics, high literature - The Sacramento Bee review by Sam McManis

Robert Douglas-Fairhurst is exhausted by a marathon runner's obsession - The Daily Telegraph

Haruki Murakami's memoir shows his life imitates his art too closely - St. Petersburg Times by Liam Julian

Marathon Man - the New York Times review by Geoff Dyer

Murakami taps into a personal well with 'What I Talk About' - UWire review by Becky Lang

Haruki Murakami's charming book about the joys of running - The Cleveland Plain Dealer by John Freeman

The Scotsman review by Fordyce Maxwell

Running commentary: A great novelist's memoir winds through writing and marathons - The New Observer review by John Freeman

The loneliness of the long-distance writer - Globe & Mail review by Simon Houpt

Japanese fiction master gets personal - Paste Magazine review by Jesse Jarnow

Hit the Ground - The Source Weekly review by John Freeman

Run, novelist, run: Murakami explores the links between running and writing - In Richmond review by Doug Childers

The Sunday Times review by Kevin Jackson: a cult writer’s obsession with pounding the pavement when he’s not pounding the keyboard

Bostonist Book Review: Evan Fleischer gives us the "rundown"

Time Out Chicago review by Jonathan Messinger

AV Club reviewed by Donna Bowman

Portland Mercury review by Alison Hallett

Anthem Magazine review by Alex Kish

Haruki Murakami disguises a keen memoir as a manifesto on physical fitness - Fairfield County Weekly review by Nick Keppler

The Tennessean review by Joel Rice

Vueweekly review by Josef Braun

The Courant review by Dan Pope

The novelist describes his passion for running and how it aptly serves as a metaphor -- if only the prose's flat, colloquial style could communicate this better. - LA Times review by Peter Terzian

New Jersey Star-Ledger review by John Freeman

Bookslut review by Shaun Manning

The Complete Review 's Review

Falling Stones are not Heavy

A not particularly positive review from The Economist

Time Out New York review by Hank Shteamer

New Zealand Herald review by Graham Beattie

Sean Blog: It All Relates 2 Writing review


Review by John Lilly, who’s the CEO of Mozilla

I'M A RUNNER: HARUKI MURAKAMI - This novelist uses his running to make his books top-notch by Yishane Lee. Runners World interview from 2005

'When I Run I Am in a Peaceful Place' excellent Spiegel interview with Murakami (in English) by Maik Grossekathöfer (in Two Parts)

HARUKI MURAKAMI TALKS TO HIMSELF WHILE RUNNING, BUT ONLY IN JAPANESE (SO YOU CAN'T HEAR HIM) - really interesting piece by Scott on the new book, recommended reading

Haruki Murakami, Life and Letters, "The Running Novelist," The New Yorker, June 9, 2008 (Abstract)

Let's face it: I'll never have pecs like that Dolce & Gabbana guy- Nice article from The Times by Luke Leitch, which heavily references the New Yorker piece above

Tips on Becoming Running Novelist - nice review by Jenny Davidson (with some quotes from the book)

Ted Thoughts - nice article from someone's who's read the book in the original Japanese

Run Like Murakami article by Christine Thomas

Nice preview on Pigtails Flying

rief article by 55 Knots: Hideo Joho

The New Zealand Weekend Herald - review by The Bookman

UPI review by Wayne E. Yang

Musings on running - Review by Manote Tripathi, The Nation

Marathon chronicles - The Star Online (Malaysia) review by Ted Mahsun