Friday, December 17, 2010

The Memory of Running

I'm not sure how The Memory of Running by Ron McLarty escaped my bike radar, except it's a work of fiction and would never have appeared on the shelves next to all the accounts of biking across the U.S., world trips, etc. It is a clever book, written with stark prose, funny and poignant, and often breathtaking.

It is an account of one man's emotional and physical journey on his red Raleigh after the death of his parents. Slovenly Smithy Ide starts riding for escape, then pleasure and finds himself far from home. Taking one day at a time he acquires supplies as needed (something I've often pondered). As Smithy rides west a cast of  hilarious characters and sometimes not quite far fetched predicaments will leave you wondering whether to laugh or cry. He often reminisces about his schizophrenic sister and is discovering, one mile at a time, who he is and where to go next. If there is anything missing in this novel (for me), it would be more of his daily riding which soars with discovery, hope, and the pure beauty of the journey.

The Memory of Running is a ride worth taking.

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