A Globe and Mail Top 100 Pick of 2006

In this, the first volume of Difficulty at the Beginning, John Dupre is a student at Raysburg Military Academy, where his best friend Lyle Ledzinski is training him to be a perfect Socratic athlete: ?A sound mind in a sound body.?Together they want to experience all of life — athletics, philosophy, beer, the quest for Truth, and most of all, those mysterious creatures that seem to come from another planet: girls. By their junior year they’ve taken to hitch-hiking around, fired up on Kerouac, James Dean and St. Augustine, and their horizons begin to expand like an endless sunrise. They’re out for experience and suffering, and that’s just what they’re going to get. Written as though on the back of the pages of Gloria (shortlisted for the Governor General’s Award, 1999), Running depicts the lives of young men in late-1950s America with humour, pathos, and muscle. Taken on its own or as the prelude to Difficulty at the Beginning, it’s a memorable and invigorating piece of writing that shows how the smug, grey culture of the 1950s was shattered forever with three little words.


This is a narrative rich in sensual detail, ranging from the runner’s heat and salt to the apprentice drunkard’s vertigo and elation . . . It is also a meditation on troubled American masculinity, offering profound and alarming insights into how it is constructed and how it can go terribly wrong. —Globe and Mail

Running perfectly represents the terrible, lonely beauty of young life, a literary equivalent of the songs of Paul Westerberg. Keith Maillard’s books changed my life. They made me want to write, and to be a writer. —Dave Bidini


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160 Pages
8in * 5.25in * 0.375in


August 07, 2005



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