Running – by Cara Hoffman


Running by Cara Hoffman

Hardcover: 288 pages

Publisher: Simon & Schuster (Feb. 21 2017)

ISBN-13: 978-1476757575

Synopsis: From the critically acclaimed author of Be Safe I Love You comes a dark and breathtaking novel of love, friendship, and survival set in the red light district of Athens in the 1980s that Garth Greenwall calls “a ferocious, brilliant book.”

Running brings together an ensemble of outsiders who get by as “runners”—hustlers who sell tourists on low-end accommodations for a small commission and a place to stay.

Bridey Sullivan, a young American woman who has fled a peculiar and traumatic upbringing in Washington State, takes up with a queer British couple, the poet Milo Rollack and Eton drop-out Jasper Lethe. Slipping in and out of homelessness, addiction, and under-the-table jobs, they create their own kind of family as they struggle to survive.

Jasper’s madness and consequent death frame a narrative of emotional intensity. In its midst this trio become linked to an act of terrorism. The group then splinters, taking us from Athens to the cliffs of the Mediterranean, and to modern-day New York.

Whether in the red light district of Athens or in the world of fire jumpers in the Pacific Northwest, we are always in a space of gorgeously wrought otherness. Runningshows novelist Cara Hoffman to be writing at the peak of her craft.

* * *

Bridey Sullivan escapes her tragic past and arrives in Athens during the 1980s. It is there that she meets Jasper and his boyfriend, Milo and joins them working as a “runner”. I really enjoyed the uniqueness of the story – I can honestly say I have never read a story about “runners” before, nor had I even heard this term before. (“Runners” are people who work for low end hotels and get tourists to come to the hotel for a small commission wage.)

The chemistry and the raw emotions of the characters gripped me into the story, however, because the story jumps around alot, I had some trouble always following the story. But, I did find that as the book went on, I got more accustomed to the author’s style and had an easier time following the story.

I should mention, I have not read any of Cara Hoffman’s other books – I’ve been told this is a very different book than her previous books… But I can’t really comment on that. However, I do want to read her other books now to help compare. Hoffman has shown in this novel how talented of an author she is as she created a very complex and different story and made it enjoyable (ignoring the sometimes confusing parts).

Rating: 8/10
* I received this book in exchange for an honest review from Simon and Schuster Canada*

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