cover image Running Home: A Memoir

Running Home: A Memoir

Katie Arnold. Random House, $27 (368p) ISBN 978-0-425-28465-0

A woman’s crippling grief over her father’s death is the starter pistol for this marathon of self-discovery from Arnold, former Outside magazine editor and daughter of National Geographic photographer David Arnold. When a terminal cancer diagnosis halts her father’s retirement project of archiving thousands of photos, those images reopen old wounds for Katie. Recalling her parents’ separation when she was two, she writes, “It’s nearly impossible to untangle my earliest memories from Dad’s photographs.” Shuttling between his rural Virginia home to care for him and her life in Santa Fe raising two children, she suppressed her anguish. After he died in 2010, she found his diaries, in which he had divulged mixed feelings about fatherhood and “deep resentment” of her. Arnold’s narrative includes flashbacks of her need for her father’s acceptance; she reveals how at age seven, “desperate for Dad’s attention,” she agreed to his dare to run a 10K race, and from that point became “a runner by accident.” After his death, she relied on ultrarunning to manage anxiety and developed a friendship with Zen writer Natalie Goldberg (author of Writing Down the Bones) who offered koans during their weekly walks together (“You need to know death in order to blossom fully”). While her summations of lessons learned feel too pat, this is a bittersweet recollection of a father-daughter relationship. [em](Mar.) [/em]