Running by Jean Echenoz
A Novel

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Synopsis

Following his brilliant portrait of Maurice Ravel, Jean Echenoz turns to the life of one of the greatest runners of the twentieth century, and once again demonstrates his astonishing abilities as a prose stylist. Set against the backdrop of the Soviet liberation and post–World War II communist rule of Czechoslovakia, Running— a bestseller in France—follows the famed career of Czech runner Emil Zátopek: a factory worker who, despite an initial contempt for athletics as a young man, is forced to participate in a footrace and soon develops a curious passion for the physical limits he discovers as a long-distance runner.

Zátopek, who tenaciously invents his own brutal training regimen, goes on to become a national hero, winning an unparalleled three gold medals at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics and breaking countless world records along the way. But just as his fame brings him upon the world stage, he must face the realities of an increasingly controlling regime.

Written in Echenoz’s signature style—elegant yet playful—Running is both a beautifully imagined and executed portrait of a man and his art, and a powerful depiction of a country’s propagandizing grasp on his fate.
 

About Jean Echenoz

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Jean Echenoz worked for several years as a child psychologist before turning to fiction writing. In addition to his numerous articles and short stories, he is the author of eight novels and a pamphlet on Éditions de Minuit founder Jérôme Lindon. Most of his books are "exuberant spoofs" (Atlantic Monthly) of the espionage thriller, including Cherokee, big Blondes, and Double Jeopardy, all f which are available in English translation. In 1983 he was awarded the Prix Medicis for Cherokee. He currently lives in Paris, France. Mark Polizzotti is a prize-winning translator, and the author of eight books, including Revolution of the Mind: A Life of Andre Breton. His translations include works by Jean Echenoz, Paul Virilio, Jean Baudrillard, Raymond Roussel, Maurice Roche, Gustave Flaubert, Jen Senac, and the Surrealists.
 
Published December 8, 2009 by New Press, The. 130 pages
Genres: Sports & Outdoors, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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In one telling and sorrowful moment, Zátopek passes through Orly airport on his way to a race in Spain and sees the usual crush of news reporters and photographers.

Dec 01 2009 | Read Full Review of Running: A Novel

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