Book Report: The Memory of Running by Ron McLarty (2004)

I admit it, I bought this book (finally) because Ron McLarty was Sgt. Belson in the television series Spenser: For Hire.

It got some critical note and some commercial success (I hope), because it’s ultimately a pretty good book. An obese Quality Control inspector in an action figure factory spends his lonely nights in an alcoholic haze. After a week at the cottage with his folks, they die from an automobile accident just as the father finds the crazy disappeared sister. This quite frankly breaks the fellow from his moorings and from his current life.

He sort of stumbles on a cross-country bike ride to claim his sister’s body, and the narrative splits between flashbacks that tell the story of the happy suburban life’s disintegration as the daughter goes crazy and the man on his meandering voyage of self-discovery.

This is the second of the crazy sister books I’ve read recently (the other being The Moment She Was Gone which I read in December), and I’m pleased that this book didn’t resort to a cheap gimmick to twist it. I figured out the exact moment where the narrator would have died if we were going for an Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge twist, but that didn’t erupt. Instead, we get a measured (but slightly fantastic) story about a man’s reawakening when everything he knew goes.

I recommend it.

Books mentioned in this review:

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