Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollectionsFixme
(Page 2 of 2)

Going the distance

What I Talk About When I Talk About Running A Memoir Haruki Murakami Translated from the Japanese by Philip Gabriel Alfred A. Knopf: 180 pp., $21

July 27, 2008|Peter Terzian | Peter Terzian is editing an anthology of essays about beloved record albums.

Murakami writes that "What I Talk About" is "just a book in which I ponder various things and think out loud." But despite its brevity, the volume feels padded. Two old magazine articles are planted in the text. There are repetitions, sometimes from one sentence to the next: "When I was young, I never imagined that the twenty-first century would actually come and that, all joking aside, I'd turn fifty. In theory, of course, it was self-evident that someday, if nothing else happened, the twenty-first century would roll around and I'd turn fifty." At one point, describing the weather conditions of a race, Murakami goes off on a rather odious tangent about global warming. "There were torrential rains in parts of the country, and a lot of people died. They say it's all about global warming. Maybe it is, and maybe it isn't. Some experts claim it is, some claim it isn't. There's some proof that it is, some that it isn't. But still people say that most of the problems the earth is facing are, more or less, due to global warming."

The flat, colloquial style that serves to heighten the magical qualities of Murakami's fiction makes this work of straightforward nonfiction sound pedestrian. Cliches abound: The heat of a city in summer is "something else," squirrels run around "like crazy" and young Harvard students run "like the wind." For a book by such a gifted writer, "What I Talk About When I Talk About Running" reads as though it could have been written by anyone. *

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|