Jean Echenoz

First Sentence:   The Germans have entered Moravia.

I read this book, small as it is, in a day or two. Like Ravel before it, it seemed to get a lot of positive press coverage so I thought I’d give it a try, (even though Ravel never fully convinced me of its greatness in the first place.) I needn’t have bothered. This is very similar to Ravel; same translator ( Linda Coverdale ), similar size, and similar subject matter; a fictionalised account of a real person. This time it’s Czech runner Emile Zatopek. Granted, it seems like he is a fascinating man, but that does not a good novel make. This may well be a portrait of one man and his art, but in my opinion it just does not engage me as a reader. On any level. Regardless of whether Echenoz is a ‘master prose stylist’ or not, this book along with Ravel, have shown me enough to know I won’t be tempted the next time I read a glowing review of Echenoz’s work. Unless of course I change my mind in the future. Which I quite possibly will. For now though, I’ll pass…


Last Sentence:  Filing clerk: I probably didn’t deserve any better.

 Last Sentence explained:  Not much to explain really. Emil breaks countless world records but later is oppressed by his own government. He eventually gains some sort of freedom and is appointed as a clerk in a local firm where he sees out his days. I’m sure if you read his Wikipedia page you’ll get the gist. Plus it’s a little bit shorter than reading this book!


One thought on “Running

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