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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.


Murakami gives me a reason. It might seem romantic, but it's true. I had to run…but I didn't enjoy running. I do enjoy, however, running with Murakami.

Ioan Marc Jones, Huffington Post UK

Murakami distils his own process of writing fiction in this layered and meditative memoir.

Big Issue

A wonderful exploration of work, place and life’s meanders.


Hugely enjoyable... You don't have to have run a marathon to be captivated

Sunday Telegraph

Comical, charming and philosophical...an excellent memoir


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


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

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

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 gentle, meditative memoir


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

Easy Living

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

The Scotsman

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.

Alastair Campbell, Guardian

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

William Leith, Evening Standard

Wonderfully written account.

The Daily Mail Christmas Books

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

Thomas Marks, The Daily Telegraph

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Formats & editions

  • Paperback


    June 1, 2009


    192 pages

    RRP $26.99

    Online retailers

    • Abbey's Bookshop
    • Angus & Robertson Bookworld
    • Booktopia
    • Boomerang Books
    • Collins Booksellers
    • Dymocks
    • Books Kinokuniya
    • The Nile
    • QBD
    • Readings
    • Robinsons Bookshop

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • EBook


    October 10, 2011

    Vintage Digital

    192 pages

    Online retailers

    • iBooks
    • Amazon Kindle
    • Booktopia
    • eBooks
    • Google Play
    • Kobo

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

Also by Haruki Murakami

Men Without Women
Norwegian Wood
1Q84: Books 1, 2 and 3
Kafka On The Shore
Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage
The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle
Absolutely on Music
Wind/ Pinball
The Strange Library
Large Print: Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki & His Years of Pilgrimage
Murakami Diary
1Q84: Book 3
1Q84: Books 1 and 2
After Dark
Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman
Birthday Stories
South of the Border, West of the Sun
The Elephant Vanishes
Dance Dance Dance
Hard-Boiled Wonderland And The End Of The World
A Wild Sheep Chase


Billy Slater Autobiography
Everything to Live For
Here it is
Island Home
Living on Paper
A Moveable Feast
Mockingbird Songs
It Shouldn’t Happen to a Manager
Guy Martin: Worms to Catch
The Invention of Angela Carter
Of All That Ends
This Mum Runs
Triumphs and Turbulence
The Romford Pelé
One Man’s Everest
The Life of Saul Bellow
For the Love of Horses
Animal Magic