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Working as a quality control inspector at a toy factory in Rhode Island, friendless alcoholic Smithy Ide considers himself a loser until a tragic event prompts him to set off on an epic cross-country bicycle journey that promises him a final chance to become the man he has always wanted to be. 300,000 first printing.
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Ron McLarty has joined the ranks of writers of the quirky hero with The Memory of Running. His hero, Smithy Ide, is in the grand tradition of Ignatius J. Reilly of A Confederacy of Dunces and Quoyle of The Shipping News. What these gentlemen have in common is their lumpen-loser looks, their outsider status and their general befuddlement about the way the world works and their place in it. Smithy rises above them because of his self-effacing nature, his great capacity for love, his inability to show it and his endless willingness to forgive.
Smithy is a 279-pound, hard-drinking, chain-smoking, 43-year-old misfit who works in a G.I. Joe factory putting arms and legs on the action heroes. (How did McLarty come up with that?) He is also the most beguiling anti-hero to come into view in a long, long time. McLarty, an award-winning actor and playwright best known for his many appearances on TV in Law & Order, Sex and the City, The Practice, and Judging Amy, has added another star to his creative crown with this novel.
The first sentence of the book is: "My parents' Ford station wagon hit a concrete divider on U.S. 95 outside Biddeford, Maine, in August 1990." This tragic accident eventually claims both their lives. It is on the day of their funeral that Smithy finds a letter to his father about Bethany, his beloved and deeply troubled sister, stating that, "Bethany Ide, 51, died from complications of exposure... and she has since that time been in the Los Angeles Morgue West." Beautiful Bethany, given to taking off her clothes in public places, holding impossible poses for long periods of time, responding to voices that only she can hear, and disappearing for no known reason. This time, she has been gone for many years and now Smithy knows that she died destitute and alone. When he reads the letter, he is drunk, grief-stricken and, despite a house full of people, he is alone. He goes out to the garage to smoke and have another drink and spies his old Raleigh bicycle. He sits on it, flat tires and all, wheels it to the end of the driveway--and--Smithy doesn’t know it yet, but he is going to ride a bicycle from Maine to Los Angeles to claim his sister's remains.
On the road he meets the good, the bad, and the really bad. He frequently calls Norma, the Ides' across-the-street neighbor, confined to a wheelchair for years, and always in love with him. He has never acknowledged nor returned her ardor, but he starts to count on her friendship during his travels. Their conversations are sweet and revelatory. McLarty has done a superb job of showing us who Smithy is and who he is becoming. It's a wonderful story told with great poignancy and humor. --Valerie RyanFrom the Back Cover:
"Smithy is an American original, worthy of a place on the shelf just below your Hucks, your Holdens, your Yossarians."
"Endearing . . . it’s a ride worth taking."
"In The Memory of Running, professional actor and long aspiring novelist Ron McLarty has invented a character so fully and elegantly defined that the book soars with originality and life."
—San Francisco Chronicle
"Captivating . . . McLarty unspools passage after passage of devastating grace and melancholy, and his taciturn hero hooks himself to your heart."
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Book Description Viking Adult. Hardcover. Condition: New. 0670033634 Ships promptly from Texas. Seller Inventory # Z0670033634ZN
Book Description Viking Adult. Hardcover. Condition: New. 0670033634 . Seller Inventory # Z0670033634ZN
Book Description Viking Adult. Hardcover. Condition: New. 0670033634 Ships from Tennessee, usually the same or next day. Seller Inventory # Z0670033634ZN
Book Description Viking Adult, 2004. Hardcover. Condition: New. 000-182: Hardcover with Dustjacket. 358 pages. No Defects. A New, Unread Book. A beautiful, square, tight copy with clean, unmarked, acid-free pages. Tight hinges indicate book has never been opened. Jacket may have a tiny blemish from store shelf. Outstanding Gift Quality. Hop onto the back of Smithy Ide's Bike and Ride America with him - you'll enjoy the Journey. 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 First Edition, First Printing 2004. Published by Viking Books. Seller Inventory # 34560
Book Description Viking Adult, 2004. Hardcover. Condition: New. 1st. Review copy. Seller Inventory # SBDmcl01
Book Description Viking Adult, 2004. Hardcover. Condition: New. Seller Inventory # DADAX0670033634
Book Description Viking Adult, 2004. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M0670033634
Book Description Viking Press, New York, NY, U.S.A, 2004. Hardcover. Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: Fine. First Edition, First Printing. New, unread copy, in fine, mylar-protected dust jacket. A35/ L121. Seller Inventory # 9029
Book Description Viking Press, New York, New York, U.S.A., 2004. Hardcover. Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. First Edition. 2004 Viking Press FIRST edition of Mclarty's novel receiving immense critical acclaim. This book is in NEW/NEW unread condition. Sure to be a best seller!. Seller Inventory # 3573
Book Description Viking (New York), 2004. Hardcover. Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. 1st Edition. First edition. First printing. Hardbound. A pristine unread copy, very fine/very fine in all respects. SIGNED BY AUTHOR on title page. Comes with archival-quality dust jacket protector. All books shipped in sturdy boxes. Smoke-free environment. Purchased new and opened only for author to sign. The author has signed his name only, without any other writing. NOT price clipped. No marks. You cannot find a better copy. Signed by Author(s). Seller Inventory # 0909-MFM21