The Long Run: A Memoir of Loss and Life in Motion by Catriona Menzies-Pike (Crown, $25.00, 256 pages)
In The Long Run, Catriona Menzies-Pike seeks to be inspirational when it comes to summarizing the healing power of running. Unfortunately, the memoir comes across as flat and turgid. The latter is the case when Menzies-Pike writes as a feminist. It’s interesting but her heart does not seem to be in it. The topical connection between the sport of running and social oppression is weak, to say the least. Running appears to have empowered Menzies-Pike, so it’s unclear how the feminist complaints fit in.
“Women run when they are chased; women must run from predators to stay chaste. It is not natural for women to run unless they’re chased; chaste women have no need to run.”
It’s troubling that Menzies-Pike gets some basic details wrong. At one point she writes of “the weight shifting from the ball to the heel of my foot as I move forward.” That’s not how people run; the heel hits the ground before one’s weight is transferred to the ball of the foot. Was she running backwards?
This slim work may benefit a few by making the case that running can empower a person. Menzies-Pike notes that there’s “nothing… as reliable as running for elevations of mood and emotion, for a sense of self-protection.” Well and good, but there’s something removed and distant about her writing style.
A novice runner would be better off reading the modern classic What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami. Much better off.
A review copy was received from the publisher. This book was released on May 23, 2017.
Catriona Menzies-Pike is the editor of the Sydney Review of Books, a link to which can be found on our Blogroll.