From the critically acclaimed author of Be Safe I Love You comes a haunting novel of love, friendship, and survival set in the red light district of Athens in the 1980s that New York magazine calls “a gauzy portrait of youthful longing, sticky romance, and regret.”
Running follows the lives of three friends and lovers: queer English poet Milo Rollack, prep school dropout Jasper Lethe, and seventeen-year-old Bridey Sullivan, an American with a fascination for fire. Barely out of childhood, squatting in a crumbling hotel on the outskirts of Athens in the late 1980s, the three slip in and out of homelessness, heavy drinking, and underground jobs. While working as runners for the hotel—convincing tourists to stay there for a commission and free board—they are befriended by an IRA fugitive and become inextricably linked to an act of terrorism that will mark each of them for life.
Bridey, the consummate survivor, abandons Jasper and Milo, planning to return when the dust has settled. But no one has fared well in her absence. And then a mysterious death drives her to seek an impossible absolution that will take her from the streets of the red-light district to the remote island cliff houses of the southern Mediterranean.
Twenty-five years later, Milo, now a successful writer and professor in Manhattan, struggles to live ethically in a world he knows is corrupt, coping with a secret that makes him a stranger to those closest to him.
“Beautiful and atmospheric…original and deeply sad” (Kirkus Reviews), Running is a sweeping and fearless story of friendship and survival from Cara Hoffman, an author who “writes like a dream—a disturbing, emotionally charged dream” (The Wall Street Journal).
Hoffman's excellent third novel (after Be Safe I Love You) follows acclaimed poet and professor Milo Rollock as he reminisces about his unscrupulous youth in Greece and the people who still haunt him. After leaving his working-class neighborhood to try and make a living as a boxer, Milo falls for Eton dropout Jasper Lethe. The two survive in Athens in the 1980s by working the local trains, goading tourists into staying in disreputable hotels. Nomadic Bridey Sullivan, an American teenager who was raised in the woods by her survivalist uncle, becomes their friend and lover. In the present, as a middle-aged man teaching creative writing in New York City, Milo sees himself in his talented student Tiffany Navas, but he is otherwise dismayed by his bourgeois existence. He moved to the U.S. in an attempt to reconnect with Bridey, who was pregnant when he last saw her. Jasper's sociopathic and destructive tendencies long ago, including the fallout of a scam he masterminded that destroyed the reputation of a friend of Bridey's, long ago sealed Jasper's fate. Hoffman beautifully conveys the depths of Milo's longing as well the personalities of his motley crew.