Monday, May 30, 2005

Is a world record is the answer?

By Bruce Glikin
Amber Fields Publishing

The breathtaking first race that opens Distant Runner leaves the reader wondering in open-mouthed amazement what will happen next. What is the secret behind a 5000 metre performance that stunned a knowledgeable Hayward Field crowd? Is it possible for such prodigious talent to burst onto the world stage out the anonymous heartland of America? What is the real story behind Danny Murray, the newly definitive ‘unknown runner’?

We are soon taken on parallel journeys chronicling the lives of athlete and adviser. Danny Murray is the disturbed child prodigy who is on the cusp of graduating from the toughest school of hard knocks. Gabe Seward is the former Olympic Trials runner from the seventies who counsels children from the wrong side of town.

The two meet by chance on a darkened road out of Eugene, Oregon with Seward befriending the guarded, mysterious Murray. What follows is a rollercoaster journey of drama, tragedy and passion not unlike the ups and downs experienced by an Olympic marathon runner. Glikin skilfully draws the reader into the outwardly different yet spiritually similar worlds inhabited by Murray and Seward.

Distant Runner builds with such momentum we anticipate with page-turning speed a dramatic climax. Scripted is an adjective that springs to mind when describing the novel’s structure and street-wise dialogue. In a youthful lifetime we are taken from the vast plains of Kansas to the Douglas-fir shaded mountain trails of New Mexico. From the jasmine perfumed gardens of River Oaks, Houston to the synthetic 400 metre running tracks of Oregon, Dubai and Europe.

This is not just a story about a distance runner and his counsel. It’s a story about characters and life. These characters are expertly drawn so that we care about their lives and fate. We hope for a good outcome but one that remains real. Distant Runner delivers an oxygen-debt laden punch and on the way shows us that runners can’t be simply categorised. They are complicated individuals living real, sometimes tragic but always hopeful lives.

This is novel for all lovers of a great yarn, not just readers who happen to be runners.


Blogger Luckylegs said...

An excellent review, Ewen; the book would be an interesting read no doubt; good to have the human element brought out as well as the performance of the runners. I think chickybabe would like this book.

7:27 pm  
Blogger miners said...

Love the review Ewan - I'm interested now.

Thanks for the help with the tables (the wombatface tables! - I included your trademark/patent in the template now). The new colours look more consistent, so thanks.

...and yes, it is hard to drag myself away from hijackers, although my relative absence over there has been noticed - vespa chastised me in her last effort for not posting enough!

9:09 am  

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