Haruki Murakami's nonfiction book. I have been trying to read this book for a long time. Murakami is a long-distance runner and this is his memoir on running. Sharing his experiences on running, he also shared a few writing tips in the book.
Murakami starts the book by saying, suffering is optional. He writes, 'hurt is inevitable but suffering is optional.'
Murakami maintained a journal to jot down his running experiences, he also maintained logs of how many miles he runs in a week. Murakami chose to run in his late forties and he decided to run the classic Marathon in reverse, i.e Athens to Marathon. 26.2 Miles. He narrated his experience well in this memoir.
'I run in a void,' Murakami says, discussing the philosophical thought on how there's no void and yet there's void in thoughts while running. There's a lot of imagery in his writing, making us witness his marathon and triathlon experiences.
There's one life lesson, Murakami mentions in the book. Even the best of the best faces hurdles every day. They are not spared even.
Murakami interview Olympic runner, Toshihiko Seko, asking, 'Does a runner at your level ever fell like you'd rather not run today like you don't want to run and would rather just sleep in?'
'Of course. All the time,' replied the runner.
It's true that every day, even the best have to push themselves to work rather than rest. It's not easy for anyone. The disciplines make all the difference.
Talking about the hardships in life, Murakami writes,
"In other words, let's face it: Life is basically unfair. But even in a situation that's unfair, I think it's possible;e to seek out a kind of fairness. Of course, that might take time and effort. And maybe it won't seem to be worth all that. It's up to each individual to decide whether or not it is."
Murakami discusses what he learnt about writing by running every day.
Important quality a novelist must have is talent and focus. He says, 'the latter is important than the former.'
"Even a novelist who has a lot of talent and mind full of great new ideas probably can't write a thing if, for instance, he's suffering a lot of pain from a cavity. The pain in blocks concentration. "
The next important quality he mentions is endurance. Focus and endurance is a must for all the novelist who wants to create a large number of works. Focus and endurance draw out a lot of patience. Murakami mentions his words with Raymond Chandler.
The rest of the book is about Murakami's marathon, ultra-marathon and triathlon experiences. Enjoyed reading his narration of ultramarathon experience.
It's refreshing to read non-fiction from Murakami.