Liralen's Reviews > Run! 26.2 Stories of Blisters and Bliss

Run! 26.2 Stories of Blisters and Bliss by Dean Karnazes
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It says something about the quality of writing that the single best chapter was the one written by Topher Gaylord.

Actually, that's not strictly accurate. The quality of writing is okay, but - I've said this before, and I will say it again - Karnazes comes across as jaw-droppingly arrogant. I didn't even make it out of the introduction before I was staring in disbelief.

Look. I respect Karnazes as an ultrarunner, no question. He's not the best out there (he just has the most hype), but he's good. Really good.

As a writer, however...

Take, as an example, chapter 20, "Letters to Karno". Now, first of all, nobody's memoir should have a chapter devoted to fan letters, unless said letters are an integral part of the story or the letters themselves are really, genuinely interesting and/or funny. Karnazes explains their inclusion by saying that these are letters by truly inspiring people, but - wait for it - every single letter talks about how inspiring Karnazes is. Some of them include (yes, inspiring) stories about the people writing them, but the point is that Karnazes is everybody's hero.

Let's not even discuss the chapters by his wife and children, in which we learn that his greatest fault is that he's so perfect.

Gaylord's chapter is the most interesting - and contains the best writing - because he focuses on the interesting part of the story: the running. While Karnazes rhapsodizes about the spiritual side of running and the deep emotional connection he feels with (so it seems) every person he meets, Gaylord seems to realise that readers care about the long slog through the night, not just the offhand Oh, everyone said this was the hardest day of the run, but I blew through it with no problem. Of course, Gaylord isn't (as far as I know) a competitive runner in the sense that Karnazes is, and he certainly doesn't have the fame, but his story was far more appealing.

I don't know. I feel like I've said the same things about each of Karnazes's books so far: he's quite the runner and he's probably perfectly lovely in person, but I really wish he'd drop the ego trip and hire a ghostwriter.
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