Thirty years ago, Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami owned a jazz club in Tokyo. It was a tiny place. During the day, he served coffee; at
By John Freeman
Thirty years ago, Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami owned a jazz club in Tokyo. It was a tiny place. During the day, he served coffee; at night, the club became a bar. Murakami closed up himself, arriving home as the yolk-y sun was rising in the sky. It had never occurred to him to do anything else, let alone write fiction. And then, it did.
This charming, sober little book tells the story of how, shortly after Murakami embarked on a career as a novelist, he was blindsided by an even unlikelier idea: to go for a run. One can understand his surprise. At the time, he was smoking 60 cigarettes a day. He had never been an athlete. But he was a solitary person, and before long, he was hooked.
Runners will find a kindred soul on these pages. Here is everyman, hitting the pavement, falling into that peculiar mental void that opens up on a long jog. He endures the indignities of the sport, too. Completing his first marathon in Greece in midsummer, his sweat dries so fast, it leaves behind smears of salt. "When I lick my lips," he writes, "they taste like anchovy paste."