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3.43  ·  Rating details ·  406 Ratings  ·  88 Reviews
From the critically acclaimed author of Be Safe I Love You comes a dark and breathtaking novel....

Running brings together an ensemble of outsiders who get by as “runners”—hustlers who sell tourists on low-end accommodations for a small commission and a place to stay.

Bridey Sullivan, a young American woman who has fled a peculiar and traumatic upbringing in Washington State
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published February 21st 2017 by Simon Schuster
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Rating details
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Larry H
Dec 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
Enigmatic and atmospheric, Cara Hoffman's newest novel, Running , is the story of the relationships which leave an indelible mark on our lives, and the secrets we keep both from each other and ourselves.

Bridey Sullivan arrives in Athens in the 1980s, fleeing a life of tragedy and dysfunction in Washington State. She immediately meets Jasper Lethe and his boyfriend, one-time boxer Milo Rollack, and she joins them in becoming a "runner," essentially a shill paid a small commission to attract tour
Mar 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Cara Hoffman writes the most beautiful righteously angry sentences in contemporary lit. I was totally swallowed up by this novel.
Sep 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I regret to say I hadn't read any of Hoffman's work before this book.
Running is mesmerizing in its restrained and stark lyricism.
I enjoyed aching through every evoked emotion, trekking behind her characters in their pursuit of losing themselves or reclaiming their real selves.

Kept me reading throughout the idiosyncratic mapping of the heroes, the half-told realities and their untold destinies.

A rewarding read from the very first sentence to the last period.
Feb 22, 2017 rated it it was ok

So...this was bad. Running is a book about "runners" in Greece. Basically, runners are street kids who make a living by hustling tourists to come stay at their shitty hotel. They grab tourists off the bus, talk them into staying at their place and get a cut after the unsuspecting folks have paid their bill. This is one of those books that tries so hard to be artsy and literary by bouncing around in the narrative a lot, while not really telling you anything. Instead, certain acts and characters a
Jul 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
5 brutal but beautiful stars. I just fell into this story and did not want to come out. Not only could I not stop reading this, I wanted it to go on and on. I loved the way Hoffman doled out the story. Some reviewers were not fans of how the chapters jumped around in time, but I loved how it built tension in the story. I'm so happy I picked this up and look forward to reading more by this author.

2017 MacHalo Challenge: Book to feed your wanderlust
Nadine Jones
The city was like a beacon. And it drew us from wherever we'd been left. For me, the outskirts of a smoke jumpers' base in a cold mountain town, for Jasper and Milo the London suburbs and rain-soaked council housing of Manchester. We were looking for nothing and had found it in Athens: Demeter's lips white as stone, Apollo's yellow mantle sun washed, sanded, wind loan to granite.

I loved this book, absolutely loved it, but I'm not really quite sure why. Reading this was like walking through fir
Dan Radovich
Nov 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
I am a fan of Hoffman and her great ability at telling stories. Her two previous novels moved me and this one surprised me because it is a new 'voice' from her. Hoffman sticks with her restrained writing style in this new piece, proving that less is more. The three misfits in RUNNING are brought to life in beautiful prose. They work to survive as best they can, scamming tourists in Athens. Homelessness, drug addiction, madness and terrorism, Hoffman fills their lives taking you around the world ...more
Mar 11, 2017 rated it liked it
3.5 stars.

Dizzying, spellbinding and complex, Cara Hoffman's latest novel, Running, is a portrait of survival. Set primarily in Athens circa 1988 and bouncing from Washington to London and several cities and villas in between, it's the tale of three lost souls "in search of nothing", but really searching for themselves.

Fittingly, Hoffman's three protagonists are constantly running - from their pasts, towards their next mark, away from responsibility. Fueled by desperation, their aspirations ap
Dec 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
What a wonderful whirlwind of a book. Cara Hoffman does an incredible job transporting the reader to 1980s Athens, telling the story of 3 young, lost hustlers who find each other from different corners of the world. Moving between their days on the streets, and then to modern New York where one of them now teaches as The New School, a powerful story of how friendship, loss, and different types of love can endure over decades.

Perhaps the best part of the novel, however, is Hoffman’s fluid and be
Michelle Only Wants to Read
This book is dark and haunting. When I requested it in NetGalley I was looking for general fiction, not a thriller or the usual books I read. The blurb seemed interesting enough and I was glad to have been approved quickly. I enjoyed the flashback to Athens in the 80s. A view of what "running" meant in the story. I had a vivid image of what these characters were and I felt transported to the setting.

The storyline is thought provoking and intense. Many questions are unanswered and left for the r
Mar 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is a beautifully complex story. The shifts in time, perspectives, and story only added depth to the novel. Yet, I didn't have trouble understanding time or perspective as I was reading. Once I started, I literally found myself trying to read a few more pages any moment I could sneak them in! This novel was gritty, and a reminder that in the real world there is no such thing as a perfect ending.


It's been two months, and I still find myself thinking about this book, and the characters
Julie Haydu
Mar 03, 2017 rated it it was ok
I am a Cara Hoffman fan and was so excited to see she had a new book. Unfortunately I am in the minority in not liking Running. I did not enjoy the story or relate to the characters. The narrative was bewilderingly disjointed and flipped between points of view and points in time. I did not find the characters lifestyles to be poetic or even interesting. A strange book.
Charlie Smith
Feb 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Original available at:

Every so often we dedicated, obsessive, addicted readers are gobsmacked out of literary complacency by a writer's voice so new, so different, so arrestingly outlier we rediscover the joy of being book-crazy.

The first for me occurred in my early teens when I read Joan Didion's Play It As It Lays. Three times in a row. For decades I tried to infuse everything I wrote with Didion's sardonic meticulousness, a spare, surgical precision of
Apr 30, 2018 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: poets prone to violence
Shelves: 2018
Intriguing characters. Intriguing place. Intriguing idea.

The book focuses around a trio of disenchanted and prone to violence youth. Bridey, an American, meets up with Milo and Jasper, British couple extraordinaire in Athens. All young, lost and looking. Their trade is Running. I have to admit, I was uneducated on this trade. In return for a room and a few books, a runner hustles tourists into hotels. In our case, an ancient and seedy hotel.

The story is murky as it involves satellite characters
Lydia Wednesday
Aug 25, 2017 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: masochists
This book was well written (for a non-linear story, which I dislike immensely but for what it was it was well done). The author's voice was clear.


To be fair, good job to her because she definitely made me feel things but that feeling was anger and annoyance. The main characters are terrible people. Which is an understatement. The non-linear story that jumps from past to present makes it easier for one u
Jennifer Hudson
Apr 09, 2018 rated it did not like it
I hated this book from start to finish. The horrible characters, the all-over-the-place writing style, the plot (or lack thereof) - none of it was redeeming. I only finished it so I could discuss it with my book club. Worst book I have read in a long time.
Sep 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017
3.75 stars
Apr 03, 2017 rated it liked it
The writing itself is beautiful and the story does pick up at the very end but before that and for most of the book it's so disjointed and fragmented that I could care less about the fates of any of the characters. It's hard to keep track of anything--time periods, what's happening in the world, ages of these characters. It's a mess in that way that makes it a really frustrating read. I wanted to like it so much more than I did.
Carrie Laben
Mar 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shattering look at class and violence. Prose at times reminiscent of St. Aubyn but with a more complex plot.
Mar 21, 2017 rated it it was ok
Really hate the technique of time and character flux in the narrative. Didn't find the characters were well developed because of this. Hated all of the characters and felt their motivations were not significantly presented.
Claire Kittridge
Feb 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: literary-ficton
I received an advance copy of Cara Hoffman's new book from NetGalley and was hooked from the first sentence. Running is an AMAZING work of finely crafted literature! If you like a book that challenges the way you think about storytelling and is full of sharply crafted characters and settings - this book is for you! It's full of non-linear time shifts, queer anti-heroes, beautiful prose, subtle disruptions, and existential desolation mixed with intellectual optimism. Read while listening to Nick ...more
Erica Parker
Jun 15, 2017 rated it it was ok
"Running" essentially centers on a small group (two guys, one gal) who eek out a living scamming tourists in Greece during the 1980s. This group, Milo, Jasper and Bridey are close and tightknit, living in each others' pockets, until one of their scams backfires and gets them uncomfortably close to an act of terrorism.

Hoffman's writing is quite good - it's obvious that she's a very talented woman and she's someone I can see myself reading again. The relationships feel real and true. There's an in
Nguyen Luan
Jun 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Cara Hoffman is not new to most readers. In the 1980s, she was a teenager who ditched college and packed her bags for Europe. She occasionally slept in train stations and stowed away in Venetian water taxis. Her funds were running low and so was her energy.

That’s when she heard of a place she could crash and still earn some commission after working as a “runner” in Greece. Her new job involved walking the length of trains and luring unsuspecting tourists into seedy hotel in the red-light distric
Aug 24, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, queer
cinematic in its execution and written in a bewitching prose, temporally shifting between narrators and continents, frustratingly unclear and fragmentary at times, in sum the kind of book that hooks into you with a devastating pull towards its myopic characters and their moral debasement and disappearances.
Apr 23, 2017 rated it did not like it
I don't think I have given many books I have finished a 1 star rating. I would not have finished it had it not been short. The book was confusing. It would have been helpful if the chapters said who was talking and when and where it was taking place. It was just all over the place.

I see the reviews are mixed. My advice, if you don't like the book at the beginning, you won't like it at the end. Save yourself some time and do not finish! I wish that is what I had done.
L.P. Logan
Jan 21, 2017 rated it did not like it

Nope. Not for me.
Oct 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: contemporary
Not since starting this blog have I stopped and erased and restarted a review as many times as I have this book. I first attempted to write a review when I finished the novel for the first time, but decided I needed more time to think this book through. It's been two days, and I still think I need more time, though frankly at this point it could be one month later and I'd still not be able to get my thoughts entirely collected and articulate enough to be able to express exactly what this book di ...more
Jennifer Moore
Apr 28, 2018 rated it it was ok
Maybe a 2.5

An engrossing, if somewhat meandering story of three transient teenagers who cling to each other as they survive on the margins of society in late-1980’s Athens. The “running” of the title refers to the job the trio performs as touts for a crumbling hotel in a seedy neighborhood in exchange for a dingy room on the roof. From the half-finished rooftop they can just barely glimpse the Acropolis as tourists climb its ruins, equipped with cameras and guidebooks. It is these same tourists
Janine Jorgensen johnson
Jul 14, 2017 rated it did not like it
While I was visiting the dentist I was reading a magazine which reviewed books and summer reading recommendations. As one who loves anything 80's related and a travel junkie I was ready to DEVOUR this book.

Subject: A group misfit lost souls who stalk unsuspecting tourists at train stations in Athens Greece in the late 1980's. They offer unfathomable deals on hotel rooms. They take the guest to the hotel which may look slightly stale and rundown but hey it is a place to flop-and at a bargain! Th
Oct 23, 2017 rated it did not like it
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HOFFMAN is the author of the critically acclaimed novels Running, So Much Pretty and Be Safe I Love You. She has written for the New York Times, Marie Claire, Salon, and National Public Radio, and is the recipient of numerous awards and accolades including a Folio Prize nomination, and a Sundance Institute Global Filmmaking Award.

She has been a visiting writer at Columbia, St. John’s and Universi
More about Cara Hoffman

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“Bridey found something transcendent in broken men; read them, not for signs of what they might do to her, but as if they were oracles revealing cracks in the barrier between one world and another.” 0 likes
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