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The first, fascinating insight into the life of this internationally bestselling writer

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, he reflects upon the influence the sport has had on his life and on his writing.

Equal parts travelogue, training log, 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.

By turns funny and sobering, playful and philosophical, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running is a must read for fans of this masterful yet private writer as well as for the exploding population of athletes who find similar satisfaction in distance running.


Thre's a wandering, digressive, free-form quality to the writing - like improvised jazz - familiar to anyone who has read the novels, with their labyrinth plots, perplexed, solitary male protagonists, meaningful coincidences and dream-like sequences. The narrative voice here is as persuasive as in any of the novels, candid and jaunty, and you finish the book charmed by the simple, unaffected grace of Murakami


Comical, charming and philosophical...an excellent memoir


There can never have been a book quite like this memoir of running and writing, taken together, before. In its self-contained way, it's nothing less than an inspiration

Evening Standard

A fitting and hugely enjoyable memoir for a writer concerned so much with the implausible tangents of everyday life... You don't have to have run a marathon to be captivated

Sunday Telegraph

Builds up a steady pace and creates a hypnotic rhythm...Even those who can't be bothered to run for the bus will be moved by the way he describes running as providing a precious time free of quotidian worries


[Murakami] says no-one can warm to a character like his, but when he talks like this, on the run, we keep pace and pay rapt attention

The Times

Murakami manages to set a course that takes in views of all literature, sport and the uphill journey of ageing, all with a modest fluency that covers the ground without raising a sweat


An inspiration...Murakami describes the feeling of pushing one's body to the limit better than anyone


The biggest hitter of the year

Observer Sport Monthly

This book is in some ways the story of the workings of Murakami's mind ... He is a fine writer, and an interesting man. As I closed this slim volume, I was left wanting to know more about him


A short, thoughtful book worth several shelves of self-help titles

Scotland on Sunday

The closest thing to a memoir that Haruki Murakami will ever write

Sunday Herald

A beguiling memoir

Sunday Telegraph

The book has a Zen-like quality, and it's terrific...It makes you want to take up running.


In this memoir, he offers a fascinating insight into this strange discipline which frequently parallels his attitude towards writing.

The Daily Telegraph

The book has a Zen-like quality, and it's terrific.

Evening Standard

A gentle, meditative memoir


This is my most recent inspirational find...Murakami makes me want to write hard and run far and fast

Easy Living

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Formats & editions

  • Paperback


    June 1, 2009


    192 pages

    RRP $19.99

    Online retailers

    • Abbey's Bookshop
    • Amazon
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    • Boomerang Books
    • Collins Booksellers
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    • QBD
    • Readings
    • Robinsons Bookshop

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • EBook


    October 10, 2011

    Vintage Digital

    192 pages

    Online retailers

    • iBooks
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    • Kobo