Once in a great while, a story comes along that has everything: plot,
setting, and, most important of all, the kind of characters that sweep readers
up and take them on a thrilling, unforgettable ride. Well, get ready for Ron
McLarty's The Memory of Running because, as Stephen King wrote in
Entertainment Weekly, "Smithy is an American original, worthy of a place on
the shelf just below your Hucks, your Holdens, your Yossarians."
Meet Smithson "Smithy" Ide, an overweight, friendless, chain-smoking,
forty-three-year-old drunk who works as a quality control inspector at a toy
action-figure factory in Rhode Island. By all accounts, including Smithy's
own, he's a loser. But when Smithy's life of quiet desperation is brutally
interrupted by tragedy, he stumbles across his old Raleigh bicycle and
impulsively sets off on an epic journey that might give him one last chance to
become the person he always wanted to be. As he pedals across Americawith
stops in New York City, St. Louis, Denver, and Phoenix, to name a fewhe
encounters humanity at its best and worst and adventures that are by turns
hilarious, luminous, and extraordinary. Along the way, Smithy falls in love
and back into life.
McLarty's novel has already received significant attention for its
unusual genesis as an audiobook. Now, in a major publishing event, we herald
the arrival of a major new voice in American fiction with his stunning debut,
The Memory of Running.
This book was first published as an audio book exclusive by Recorded Books
The pain of the loser permeates actor/playwright McLarty's first novel, part
road story, part tragedy....A dreary tale of woe, with none of the dark places
It's a funny, poignant, slightly gawky debut that
aims, like its protagonist, to please—and usually does.
Stuck without a publisher for this first novel, actor McLarty did an audio
original with Recorded Books that Stephen King raved about in Entertainment
Weekly. But how many people know that it was actually librarian Tia Maggio
(Middleburg PL, VA) who brought the book to the attention of agent Jeff
Kleinman? Maggio fell in love with the tape, used it in a book group (some
listeners cried), and even got the author to come and read from the
manuscript. The characters are all so real, she explains of the
book's appeal. Eventually, the book was sold to Viking for $2 million, with a
Warner's deal and the sale of rights to 12 countries quickly following. Not
bad for the gentle tale of washed-up Smithy Ide, who takes an impulsive bike
ride across America to search for his sister.
Riders who hop onto the back of Smithy Ide's bike and ride America
with him will cherish the journey. I loved this sad, funny, life-affirming
This is a book that can do more than walk; it has a chance to be a
breakout bestseller...Smithy is an American original, worthy of a place on the
shelf just below your Hucks, your Holdens, your Yossarians.
Recent Reader Reviews
Rated of 5
by JP Bookseller
This is a terrific novel about Smitty, an everyman, someone you think you know. His nowhere life takes a turn around, and you, the reader are taken along for the ride. The characters throughout the book are rich, well developed, and familiar. A... Read More
Ron McLarty is an award-winning actor and
playwright. He came to New York thirty years ago to become a
writer. He was a regular on the series Spenser: For Hire and has appeared
more recently on The Practice, Law & Order, and Sex and the City. He has also appeared
in many films and on the stage, where he has directed many of
his own plays. He is currently working on a movie of The
Memory of Running. He lives in New York City with his actress
wife, Kate Skinner.
In answer to the question, 'How much
did your own life experience influence the creation of your
characters and drive the plot of The
Memory of Running? He replies:
had a car accident while visiting me at a vacation spot in
Maine. I stayed at a motel...
Filled with laugh-out-loud humor, struggles, triumphs, and plenty of midnight trips to the fridge, Good Grief is a funny, wise, and heartbreakingly poignant novel from one of fiction's freshest and most exciting new voices.
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