Paul Lyons's Reviews > Marathon Man

Marathon Man by William Goldman
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Apr 16, 13

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Read from April 11 to 16, 2013

** spoiler alert ** Loved this book. The 1976 movie is one of my favorites, and have seen it many times, yet this is first time I have read the book. William Goldman is such an entertaining writer. I love his work for a number of reasons:

- One - Goldman's prose does not get tangled up in unnecessary poetry. His writing is very down-to-earth, with a strong commercial bent. Goldman aims to excite, and entertain...and this comes through on every single page of "Marathon Man."

- Two - Goldman's writing is smart, very smart...and his story-structure is very well-crafted

- Three - No matter where William Goldman goes, there he is. If you had read any of his other books (fiction or non-fiction), you can clearly hear Goldman's distinctive voice. His mannerisms and references are priceless...and they are repeated through (for example) "Adventures In Screen Trade" and "More Adventures In Screen Trade." Only William Goldman would use multiple references to "The Great Gatsby" in "Marathon Man"...a novel that has literally nothing to do with "The Great Gatsby."

"Marathon Man" is filled with interesting characters. I especially loved "Doc"...as well as the protagonist "Babe,"...plus the antagonists are very colorful...especially the evil Janeway, and of course...the Nazi dentist Szell. Goldman provides excellent character shading for "Babe"...a man tortured by the suicide of his left-leaning, historian father. Babe's arc is interesting...as he is a brilliant student, and outstanding athlete...who is forced into murder, in order to stay alive...yet also out of cold-blooded revenge.

"Marathon Man" is simply an excellent, engaging, first-rate thriller. I am so glad to have finally read it.
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