The Long Run of Myles Mayberry

Alfred Alcorn, Author Zoland Books $13 (240p) ISBN 978-1-58195-001-4
Part parody of 1970s excess, part paean to the art of running, this quirky novel focuses on hapless Myles Mayberry, who spends his days training for the Boston Marathon and smoking marijuana. Myles and his dismayed new wife, Sophie, the couple's sole financial support, live in Cambridge, where they are part of a New Age ""therapeutic community."" Having fallen into a ""blinding, binding"" love one year earlier, they are hitting their marriage's first rocky patch. All goes downhill when the couple attends a weekend retreat in New Hampshire with a swami and Myles sneaks away for an illicit run. Obsessed with his desire to win the Boston Marathon, Myles begins running twice a day, and only gradually realizes that Sophie is having an affair with bisexual poet Derek Fells. The couple separate, and Myles moves to an office at the school where he teaches business management (a field which he knows nothing about). He begins to experience episodes of amnesia, running in his sleep and waking up on unfamiliar Boston streets. Only by participating in the marathon and reconciling himself to the idea of losing can he recover Sophie and his sanity. This is an inoffensive and at times amusing portrait of American life in the years between the optimistic '60s and the self-absorbed '80s, distinguished by Alcorn's vibrant evocation of the addictive nature of running. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 03/29/1999
Release date: 04/01/1999
Genre: Fiction
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