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Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Running to Reconciliation and Self

I've never been an athlete. Sedentary by nature and choice, I can't recall ever running unless being chased by a bee. My brother, Rob, is different, however.  RenegadeBooks just published his premiere novel, The Pronator, last week.

Until I read his book, I didn't know what a pronator was. It sounded like something out of science fiction, or a role Arnold Schwarzenegger would play. However, I discovered that a pronator is one who pronates; that is, a runner whose foot turns slightly so that that the inner edge of the sole bears the weight. Rob's protagonist, Jay, suffers from pronation, but its literal meaning affects the story only slightly; symbolically, it is the flaw that each of us must overcome to reach our next level.

The action of The Pronator takes place during the running of a marathon. Jay wants only to beat his old time and come in under four hours. During that time, the psycho-physical changes that affect runners during a race such as this--intermittent flashes of memories, dreams, speculations--form the narrative as mile follows mile. Recurring themes of a Catholic childhood, nightmare schools replete with bullies, family dynamics, and the mysteries of spirituality reveal a dreamlike biography.

Being the writer's sister, it's obvious to me that Jay is a thinly disguised version of my brother. Further, I know the parts he left out. I don't know what the popularity of this book will be outside the family, but for me it was a revelation and a rare invitation to a sibling's inner life.

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