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Random Walk: a Novel for the New Age

3.56  ·  Rating details ·  154 ratings  ·  36 reviews
It is a walk, an odyssey begun in the Pacific Northwest by one man--who is soon joined by others. Their path is crossed by a murderer, and their journey leads them through terrifying and astonishing events that reveal to them the secrets of the New Age.
Paperback, 352 pages
Published April 15th 1990 by Tor Books (first published 1988)
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3.56  · 
Rating details
 ·  154 ratings  ·  36 reviews

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Feb 18, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I almost quit 1/4 through, but glad I didn't. This story picks up mightily til the end. 8 of 10 stars
John Defrog
Jan 23, 2019 rated it it was ok
I’ve been a fan of Lawrence Block since the mid-80s, but somehow I missed this book that came out in 1988. And there may be good reason for that – it’s a novel that not only steps outside his usual turf (crime novels) but also didn’t do well at the time (also unusual for a Block novel, at least by this point in his career).

According to Block, he just had this idea of a man in Oregon who isn’t satisfied with his life, hears a voice suggesting he literally walk away from it all, upon which he pac
Robert Rosenthal
Lawrence Block is best known for his fine detective fiction. I’m not a big fan of the genre, but picked up this book anyway because it promised something different. In the back matter, Block indicated that fans either loved it or hated it, but it remained one of his personal favorites. I was intrigued. I had no idea what lay in store.
The plot line (if you can even call it that) is simple. Bartender Guthrie, prompted by an inner voice, decides to shuck the rather bland and pointless life he’s
Jul 24, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Random Walk by Lawrence Block is another stop on my Follow That Blurb Reading Challenge journey. Originally written in 1987, this book is a departure from Block's usual mystery/thriller fare...something I chose deliberately. It was beginning to look like my Blurb journey was going to begin and end with mysteries. I was kind of hoping the trip would be a little more varied. So, when Block blurbed my last read (No Body by Nancy Pickard) I just kept scrolling through his work to see what might stri ...more
Jun 12, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This novel is easily the most unique reading experience Lawrence Block has ever penned. It is immediately fascinating in an alternative story telling kind of way. The book opens with local man Guthrie assisting life long friend Kit to have an abortion, of all things, and this forms the book’s first irony when you learn later on what the book is principally about.

Our man Guthrie decides to “pack it all in” and undertake the life changing adventure of walking for the sake of walking. He does not
Boz Reacher
Feb 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lb
Talk about a walk on the wild side!
Carol Waters
Written in 1988, this is the New Age Novel (he said it, not me) about a group of individuals who start off walking and eventually figure out that they're going to change the world by adopting universal acceptance and the ability to regenerate one's own teeth in a day or absorb tacky spiderweb tattoos. Well, what if I like my little tattoo, guys? Do I lose it anyway?

This spins on the New Age aphorism that one chooses one's destiny as well as one's prehistory. Mark's mom chose to die in the delive
Dennis D.
In the blurb, author Lawrence Block says of this book that his readers “either love it like crazy or they don't get it at all”. I don’t feel like I didn’t understand it, but I certainly did not love it like crazy. I suspect there are other options.

There are two threads in Random Walk: one story is the parable of Guthrie, Sara and their walkers. And it is a parable: a group of new-agey types walk away from their old selves, literally, to become new, better and healthier people hoofing it across t
Jan 23, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Could you forgive a serial killer? You could, and you would, if you give yourself over to the narrative in this story. Read it after reading American Psycho. Then take a long shower.

Really, in Random Walk, the protagonist, a modern day Jesus if you will, gives up his job and starts walking. Before long others join him, we don't know why, and the whole cavalcade is trooping on down the road.

We hear people's stories, feel the empathy the protagonist feels and before long we all feel pretty rosy.
Jul 28, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Actually, I found this book complete different from any Lawrence Block I have read. Sometimes I found it annoying as it seemed to be some long, repetitive metaphor for some sort of spiritual journey. Yet... I couldn't leave the book unread. I still find it annoying but I really got something very good from the book. It stayed with me.
Michael McGrinder
This is my hands-down favorite of Block's books, even though I feel the conclusion almost trivial I'm not sure there should be, or even needs to be, a conclusion. For a truly in-depth review here on GR, see that of Robert S. Rosenthal. It's brilliant.
Keith  Blodgett
The majority of this book is told in two alternating viewpoints, one, the walkers, a growing group of people experiencing amazing metaphysical psychic powers to heal, to understand, to evolve. The other story arc is that of a murderous psychopath crisscrossing the United States slaughtering women at random.
The first half, maybe more, of the book was interesting if a little slow and meandering. And while I'm not a major fan of multiple story arcs in a single novel as I get comfortable and interes
Jan 20, 2019 rated it did not like it
I am a big fan of Lawrence Block, and until now I didn't think he could write a bad book. This one seemed to me to be a bad idea from start to finish. It alternates chapters between a story that seems so naive, simple-minded, and new-agey as to be parody, and the exploits of a vicious serial killer whose victims are all women. The first is about a man who hears a voice and decides (literally) to walk away from his old life. He gradually collects like-minded people and they become a crowd of seve ...more
Bruce Nieminski
Jun 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lawrence-block
345 pages
Book #42 of 2017

Definitely a departure for Lawrence Block, Random Walk details a story about an Oregon bartender who quits his job one day and simply begins to walk east. He is soon joined by numerous other people who begin to share a social kind of cosmic energy that is aimed at curing the world of its many ills. This plot is juxtaposed by one of a serial killer crossing the country, performing twisted killings.

It's a weird one that only gets weirder as it progresses. I enjoyed it
Donna Carsten
Dec 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another (you should excuse the expression) Blockbuster!

I am a great fan of Lawrence Block’s Matthew Scudder series, as well as the Bernie Rhodenbarr books. Random Walk is as far from those as possible. At times it almost felt like Stephen King was doing the writing; at others I knew it was Lawrence Block.
Fascinating premise. Well-written as one can always expect.
Jan 24, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Started off entertaining. Two different characters and their parallel stories: 1. Mark, an “out of control” serial killer and 2. Guthrie, a bartender (who does a “Forest Gump”) leaves his job and just starts walking across the country. Interesting, but then slowly changes from realistic to far-fetched fantasy.
Douglas Smith
Sep 29, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting at the start but became repetitive. But worse, the ending was terrible.

***Spoiler Alert***

A vicious serial killer of women ends up being given a pass and faces no consequences at all for his horrible crimes. Worse, the so called good characters are aware of this and just accept him into their group with full forgiveness.
I liked it, but I didn't LOVE it the way I do so much of Block's work. There are some amazing descriptive passages (both beautiful and disturbing in turns), some wonderful character-building ... but the end left me feeling a bit disconnected.
Donald McEntee
If you've read lots of Lawrence Block this is a way to experience him trying something a little higher-octane.
Jul 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Deeply disturbing.
5/10 - A bit long and the supernatural aspect didn't work well for me. Contains a couple of absolutely beautiful passages.
Andrew Smith
LB has said many times that if there's one book of his that people either revere or hate then this is it. And it is a bit of an oddity: man decides to pack in his job and just walk (literally) and as he journeys across America he's joined by others who seem to receive a message and know it's what they want (or need) to do. Parallel to this runs an excellent tale of a murdering businessman (along the lines of Block's hit man episodes except he does it for pleasure not money). The two threads even ...more
Well, this wasn't your typical Larry Block book; I'm not sure how I felt about the touchy-feely group sessions that happen near the end. (On the other hand, I just noticed one of the editions was subtitled "A Novel for a New Age.")

Some backstory: Larry was involved with a woman—probably the one who was to become his wife—and that shaped the plot and storyline and made his murderer a more sympathetic character; he reformed, and realized he was changing when he was about to strangle a woman he met
This is an odd one. Guthrie hears a voice one day telling him to go for a walk, so he packs in his normal life and sets out across America on foot, soon acquiring a following. Meanwhile, a serial killer goes into high gear slaughtering women. Miracles begin to occur on the walk. When the serial killer plot comes into play, things do not go as expected. Odd fabular speculation about human consciousness and conscience, though stylistically prime Block.
Deedee Light
If I had one word to describe this book it would be, bizarre. The chapters alternate between random acts of violence to global, spiritual awakening. If I had only read the first half of this novel I would have scored it a 3 star but as it went on the story just became more new aged, brutal and senseless. Harsh but that's how I read it.
Ray Charbonneau
Another atypical Block book, this one channels some 60's hippie mysticism next to a dose of psychosis. You'll like it if it meets your particular needs for wish-fulfillment. Judged as literature, it's nothing special.
Aug 13, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I'm a huge Lawrence Block fan, and have read dozens of his novels, but you can give this one a miss: it's weaker than the rest and quite weird. If you're just getting into Block, try the Scudder, Parker (early super-hardboiled stuff!), Rhodenbarr and Tanner series before this.
Jen Mcpherson
Jul 30, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's a bit hippity dippity and strange in places but I liked it still- probobly more so because I had read about his process of writing it in Step by Step.
Aug 24, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: listened-to
Often odd and at times intense, but this book has stuck with me and changed the way I think about some things.
Not one of Lawrence Block's better novels.
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Lawrence Block has been writing crime, mystery, and suspense fiction for more than half a century. He has published in excess (oh, wretched excess!) of 100 books, and no end of short stories.

Born in Buffalo, N.Y., LB attended Antioch College, but left before completing his studies; school authorities advised him that they felt he’d be happier elsewhere, and he thought this was remarkably perceptiv
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