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How Fast Can You Run: A novel based on the life of Michael Majok Kuch.

Millan, Harriet Levin.

73 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 1941861202 / ISBN 13: 9781941861202
Published by Harvard Square Editions, New York, 2016
Used Condition: Very Good Soft cover
From Henry Hollander, Bookseller (San Francisco, CA, U.S.A.)

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Octavo, paper covers, vi, 393 pp. Bookseller Inventory # 81160

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Bibliographic Details

Title: How Fast Can You Run: A novel based on the ...

Publisher: Harvard Square Editions, New York

Publication Date: 2016

Binding: Softbound

Book Condition:Very Good

About this title


Set across a backdrop of refugee migration that spans East Africa, the US and Australia, How Fast Can You Run's story of "Lost Boy" of Sudan Michael Majok Kuch unfolds with equal measures of inspiration and heartbreak. Five-year-old Majok wakes in the middle of the night to his burning hut and flees from the soldiers torching his village in South Sudan. He gets separated from his mother and begins a ten year journey, trekking through war zones and living in refugee camps, until he receives political asylum to the US. 
Majok, now Michael, is given a new start in the US. Yet his new life mirrors his migrant life as he faces discrimination once again, and ultimately betrayal.
This extraordinary novel, chosen as a 2017 Charter for Compassion Global Read and now a Foreword Review Book of the Year finalist, is in the words of Mukoma Wa Ngugi, "a beautiful and crucial story told by two people, one Sudanese with dreams of independence, the other, an American poet who listens to Michael Majok through her imagination...reminding us that the most human of all activities, the one thing that binds us all, is finding beauty even in impossible situations."

From the Author:

First Steps (from Streetlight)Just like the adage about loving yourself before being able to love another person, I've come to understand that in order to write with depth, you first have to learn to write about yourself. 
It wasn't until I was studying poetry at the University of Iowa Writers Workshop in the 1980s, that I considered my own family worth writing about. Up until then they were distinctly uninteresting people--loud and unconventional, in distinctly boring ways, rooted in a depression-era ethos that seemed only oppressive.
But at Iowa my teachers assigned heavy doses of the confessional poets, in particular Robert Lowell, who wrote almost exclusively about his family. Although they were WASP Boston Brahmins and radically different from any people I knew, after reading about them I began using his lens.
I've been thinking about this a lot lately. My novel, based on the true story of a South Sudanese refugee, is about to come out. I believe that my family examination laid the groundwork for me to invent characters based on other real people. It gave me the tools to draw out connections as I immersed myself in the South Sudanese community.
And this week, when I watched the Olympic Refugee team enter the stadium on opening night in Rio, I was overwhelmed. Some of the athletes had lived in Kakuma Refugee Camp, the same hot, dry land that was home to Michael, on whom my protagonist is based. 
All people, all families have stories worth telling.

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