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What I Talk About When I Talk About Running
What I Talk About When I Talk About Running
by Haruki Murakami
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.84

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Terrible. Just a long, boring, empty grind to get to the finishing line., 13 Mar. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
In short. Do not buy this. If you're halfway through and wondering if it's worth finishing, looking around for reviews to help you decide whether it's actually genius disguised as rubbish, stop looking, put the book down, delete it if you can, and get on with the rest of your life.

This book is just terrible. I only finished it because I quite enjoyed the novels of his that I've read. I read a lot (including Murakami), I'm a long distance runner and I enjoy introspective and philosophical musings, so I am the perfect target audience for this book. And yet, this was by far the most boring and poorly written book that I've ever read. Just awful.

I never leave reviews but felt the need to with this. I could forgive Murakami for writing a simply boring book, given he is clearly not actually a very interesting or deeply philosophical person, although he obviously thinks he is (this book is about him, and his attempt to draw lessons from his life as a runner). In truth, there is nothing of any depth or interest about life, running, writing, or anything else to be found in this book. But if you or I tried to philosophise on a favourite topic, we'd probably fall short too.

No. What had me literally hitting myself over the head with my kindle in sheer frustration and irritation while reading this was how poor the prose was. It reads throughout like the unedited diary entries of a non-writer and the running blog of a bad writer. I'm sure the translation hasn't helped but it seems that this is a self-edited work and by God does it show. No publisher would have put this on the market if it didn't come with a famous name attached to it. I'm surprised his publisher didn't think it might damage his reputation. What is really weird is how at pains Murakami is to tell us in an afterword how much he agonised over every word before publishing this drivel.

That such a talented novelist with such adoring fans could actually market and sell this to people confused the hell out of me which is the only reason I finished it. Surely he's developing something, I kept thinking. Perhaps, just like Dostoevsky in The Double, this is a genius at work playing so cleverly with style that I'm being lured toward something magnificent, like an experiential insight into the psyche of the runner....

Perhaps that is just what Murakami has done. Perhaps reading this book is close to how Murakami actually experiences long distance running. Painfully slow, repetitive, tedious, and with absolutely no point, no joy, no enthusiasm. Just a long, boring, empty grind to get to the finishing line. If that's it, then kudos, I'll stop knocking his writing, but at the same time I would have to say that I have never met such a joylous runner. Nor would I ever want to.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 5, 2017 6:29 PM BST


Janapar: Love, on a Bike [DVD] [2012]
Janapar: Love, on a Bike [DVD] [2012]
Dvd ~ Tom Allen

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Honest, brave, and beautiful, 22 Nov. 2013
Not your average adventure travel film. Beautiful to watch with a surprising, and inspiring tale of adventure, personal struggle, and love. Tom is clearly an unusual bloke, but only because he's so apparently normal and yet so determined to challenge the normalities of modern life.


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