Jul. 12th, 2009

bobquasit: (Default)
Marathon Man Marathon Man by William Goldman


My review


rating: 4 of 5 stars

A classic thriller from the author of The Princess Bride.

In the late 1970s my father had a rather serious heart attack. Neighbors thoughtfully brought over books for him to read while he was bedridden. Naturally enough, they picked the bestsellers of that time. I'm not sure if Dad read all of them, but I did. Shogun, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, and Marathon Man were among them.

By an odd coincidence, all of those books have ended up being lifetime favorites for me.

In many ways, Marathon Man is quite dated. It was written in the early 1970s, and is very much a work of its time - both in the writing style that Goldman uses, and in the plot. A graduate student, the son of a celebrated intellectual who was destroyed by McCarthyism, finds himself caught up in a bizarre situation with Nazis, torture, family, love, and murder. And running, of course; he's a marathon man. Despite the early-70s feel, however, the book works.

Every reviewer talks about the dentistry scene. That's understandable, since it's very memorable. But good as it is, there are at least two other scenes in the book which are better than that one. And one of them has never yet failed to give me the shivers and make the hair stand up on the back of my neck.

Even though I've read the book at least ten times in the past thirty years - and to be honest that's just a guess, I'd bet it's closer to twenty times - and even though that scene has always stuck in my mind, it still never fails to get me. If you'd like to know which scene I'm thinking of, read the book; if it isn't obvious to you after that, drop me a line.

A good book, well worth reading. I liked the movie too.

View all my reviews.
bobquasit: (Default)
Marathon Man Marathon Man by William Goldman


My review


rating: 4 of 5 stars

A classic thriller from the author of The Princess Bride.

In the late 1970s my father had a rather serious heart attack. Neighbors thoughtfully brought over books for him to read while he was bedridden. Naturally enough, they picked the bestsellers of that time. I'm not sure if Dad read all of them, but I did. Shogun, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, and Marathon Man were among them.

By an odd coincidence, all of those books have ended up being lifetime favorites for me.

In many ways, Marathon Man is quite dated. It was written in the early 1970s, and is very much a work of its time - both in the writing style that Goldman uses, and in the plot. A graduate student, the son of a celebrated intellectual who was destroyed by McCarthyism, finds himself caught up in a bizarre situation with Nazis, torture, family, love, and murder. And running, of course; he's a marathon man. Despite the early-70s feel, however, the book works.

Every reviewer talks about the dentistry scene. That's understandable, since it's very memorable. But good as it is, there are at least two other scenes in the book which are better than that one. And one of them has never yet failed to give me the shivers and make the hair stand up on the back of my neck.

Even though I've read the book at least ten times in the past thirty years - and to be honest that's just a guess, I'd bet it's closer to twenty times - and even though that scene has always stuck in my mind, it still never fails to get me. If you'd like to know which scene I'm thinking of, read the book; if it isn't obvious to you after that, drop me a line.

A good book, well worth reading. I liked the movie too.

View all my reviews.

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