John "Leeds" Kipligat is a 17-year-old Kenyan emigre living with his parents in a bleak Vancouver housing project. At the urging of his best friend, a fellow Kenyan named Kulvinder Sharma, he tries out for a local track club. Their goal: to run fast enough to get scholarships to American universities, and escape poverty, problems at home, and the neighborhood.
For Leeds, running reminds him of the life in Kenya that he and his family were forced to flee, its only palpable legacy the deterioration of his parents' marriage, his mother's worsening health, and his own newly discovered self-destructive tendencies.
Kipligat's Chance plunges us into the world of competitive running, and the enormous mental and physical demands of becoming a world-class athlete. Running as sport, running as escape: the lines quickly blur for Leeds and his friends.
In Leeds, Odhiambo has created a protagonist whose humor and courage are utterly compelling. With a keen ear for language, and dialogue that is pungent and gritty, Kipligat's Chance is a startling novel, harsh and powerful, from an emerging writer.
About David Odhiambo
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Published July 27, 2004
by Penguin Global.
Literature & Fiction, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense.