Exhibit 15.5

What I Talk About When I Talk About Running

Murakami's memoir about, well, running isn't a book that leaves the reader with much beyond a desire to lace up some Mizunos and hit the trail. There's a lot of talk about how to train for a marathon and some insights into runners and running, but the glimpses into Murakami's writing are minimal, mostly confined to an essay that was published last year. Not that it isn't an interesting book--it is--but it's hardly the exploration of Murakami's life and writing that his readers, including this one, would like to see from him someday.

There are a few things to be gleaned from it about the man himself, though there are still more questions produced than answers. Murakami writes that he is not very competitive while simultaneously showing again and again how much he struggles to best his own performances and the performances of others. Similarly, Murakami claims to be somewhat unsociable while agonizing over how to be funny and likable at a reading he is to give at M.I.T. These aren't contradictions, exactly, but they do, I think, say as much about Murakami's drive as his triathlons and ultra-marathons. The man is clearly a hard worker--maybe the hardest worker--and doesn't seem to make distinctions in his approaches to writing a novel, running a marathon, or making friends.

Still, the best sections of the book are about nothing other than running, and it's hard to read without wanting to take up the sport yourself. Murakami clearly believes that running has given him discipline and endurance, but it's just as clear that he has always had more than enough of those two qualities. Ultimately, whether a runner or a novelist, one can only end the book by wondering if he or she has those qualities too.

Heather has a better take, a runner's take, here.

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