Sun, May 05, 2013 - Page 5 News List

Author Murakami sends message to Boston

AFP, TOKYO

Japanese author and keen runner Haruki Murakami sent a “personal message” to the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing and said he also felt wounded by the attack on his favorite race.

“So, even from far away, I can imagine how devastated and discouraged the people of Boston feel about the tragedy of this year’s race,” he wrote in a piece for the New Yorker magazine titled: “Boston, From One Citizen Of The World Who Calls Himself A Runner.”

“Something that should have been pure has been sullied, and I, too — as a citizen of the world, who calls himself a runner — have been wounded,” Murakami added.

The author said he spent three years on the outskirts of Boston, including two years as a visiting scholar at Tufts University and a year at Harvard, and had run the Boston Marathon six times.

“I’ve run marathons all over the world, but whenever someone asks me which is my favorite, I never hesitate to answer: the Boston Marathon,” he wrote in the article, which was translated from Japanese.

Murakami compared the process of recovering from the scars left by the attack with tackling the Boston Marathon’s Heartbreak Hill, a 6.4km section near the end of the race.

“The real pain begins only after you’ve conquered Heartbreak Hill, run downhill, and arrived at the flat part of the course, in the city streets,” he said.

“Emotional scars may be similar. In a sense, the real pain begins only after some time has passed, after you’ve overcome the initial shock and things have begun to settle. Only once you’ve climbed the steep slope and emerged onto level ground do you begin to feel how much you’ve been hurting up till then. The bombing in Boston may very well have left this kind of long-term mental anguish behind,” he said.

Ethnic Chechen brothers Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, who was killed in a police shootout, and Dzhokhar, 19, are accused of carrying out the bombing, which killed three people and wounded more than 264.

Murakami recalled the time he interviewed survivors and family members of those killed in the sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway in 1995.

“Some of the pain goes away over time, but the passage of time also gives rise to new types of pain. You have to sort it all out, organize it, understand it, and accept it. You have to build a new life on top of the pain,” he wrote.

The article can be found at: http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/books/2013/05/murakami-running-boston-marathon-bombing.html.

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