From the author of the New York Times bestselling Once a Runner—acclaimed by Runner’s World as “the best novel ever written about running”—comes that novel’s prequel, the story of a world-class athlete coming of age in the 1950s and ’60s on Florida’s Gold Coast.
Quenton Cassidy is the skinniest boy in school, and also one of the fastest. Cassidy spends his afternoons exploring his primal surroundings: the local river, the nearby ocean, the lakes, swamps, and forests that dominate the landscape of the Florida everglades. While adventuring, Cassidy befriends Trapper Nelson, an iconoclastic hunter who lives in an isolated compound on the riverbank.
By junior high, Cassidy dreams of becoming a basketball player, but Nelson’s influence runs deep and Cassidy begins to view running as a way to interact with the natural world. Warned of Nelson’s checkered past, Cassidy dismisses the stories as hearsay, until his town is rocked by the disappearance and apparent murder of a prominent judge and his wife. Cassidy’s loyalty to his friend is severely tested just as his opportunity to make his mark as a gifted runner comes to fruition.
Hailed by National Book Award winner Bob Shacochis as a “lovely novel that reminds us that what is most valuable is life is the spirit to accomplish impossible things,” Racing the Rain explores a small town’s secrets while vividly capturing the physical endurance, determination, and mindset required of a champion. “A celebration of the purity of the sport” (Fort Worth Star-Telegram), it is an epic coming-of-age classic about the environments and friendships that shape us all.
|Product dimensions:||5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.90(d)|
About the Author
John L. Parker, Jr. has written for Outside, Runner’s World, and numerous other publications. A graduate of the University of Florida’s College of Journalism as well as its College of Law, Parker has been a practicing attorney, a newspaper reporter and columnist, a speechwriter for then Governor Bob Graham, and editorial director of Running Times magazine. The author of Once a Runner, Again to Carthage, and Racing the Rain, he lives in Gainesville, Florida, and Bar Harbor, Maine.
Read an Excerpt
Racing the Rain
THE VERY EDGE OF THINGS
The first- and second-fastest kids in the second grade stood at the end of Rosedale Street in the early June heat, their bird chests heaving, asphalt fumes stinging their noses. They were so thin a mesh of blue veins showed under brown skin.
“It’s cuh-cuh-coming,” the smaller boy said, nodding toward the angry purple smudge on the horizon behind them. His skull was slightly elongated, somehow giving him a studious air.
“Couple minutes,” said the other, taller but just as brown and skinny, scrunching his bare toes into the sun-softened tar.
It would have been difficult for an adult to appreciate their boundless sense of possibilities as they stood waiting: the vastness of the coming summer, the endless expanse of school years ahead, the insignificance of their tiny lives when measured against any grown-up conception of time.
But for now they were simply oblivious to everything but the dark specter approaching Rosedale Street.
The sky darkened suddenly, and from nowhere a chilly wind began whipping through the Spanish moss in the live oaks across Bumby Avenue, raising goose bumps on their forearms. The boys leaned into a half crouch with hands on knees and waited.
The first fat drops splatted on the roadway, making little hissy puffs of steam, and as they began landing on the boys’ skin, a crack of thunder split the sky. They took off down the street in a blur of spindly legs and arms.
They were fairly evenly matched but were not really racing each other as much as simply trying to stay ahead of the deluge at their heels.
This moment always seemed magical to them: a bright tropical day loomed in front as a purple monsoon came on from behind. And they were thrilled as only children can be thrilled to exist for a moment at the very edge of things, at the buzzy existential margin of all possibilities. One might go fetch a Popsicle or be struck by lightning or live to a well-tended old age with golf clubs in the trunk. Whirl was king and all was in play.
All they knew was that for this moment in time they were racing the rain, and they were laughing laughing laughing.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I am almost finished with this book, but the end doesn't matter. The book is so beautifully written. There isn't a wasted word and the ones used are eloquently simple. I don't even know if this author has written other books, but I will read them just for the style. I hope there is a sequel that is as well written as this one!
Whether you're a fan of running, or enjoy stories of conquering insurmountable odds with a lot of hard work and training, you'll enjoy this book. It was also nice to read about the early years of Quenten Cassidy, having read Once a Runner and Again to Carthage multiple times.