Running brings together an ensemble of outsiders who get by as “runners”—hustlers who sell tourists on low-end accommodations for a small commission and a place to stay.
Bridey Sullivan, a young American woman who has fled a peculiar and traumatic upbringing in Washington State, takes up with a queer British couple, the poet Milo Rollack and Eton drop-out Jasper Lethe. Slipping in and out of homelessness, addiction, and under-the-table jobs, they create their own kind of family as they struggle to survive.
Jasper’s madness and consequent death frame a narrative of emotional intensity. In its midst this trio become linked to an act of terrorism. The group then splinters, taking us from Athens to the cliffs of the Mediterranean, and to modern-day New York.
Whether in the red light district of Athens or in the world of fire jumpers in the Pacific Northwest, we are always in a space of gorgeously wrought otherness. Running shows novelist Cara Hoffman to be writing at the peak of her craft.
Reading Group Guide
Bridey Sullivan, a young woman on her own in Europe after having been raised by her uncle, is the centerpiece of this story. In the underbelly of 1980s Athens, Bridey and her friends Milo and Jasper scrounge for work in order to survive. When their plot to make money blows up with unintended, far-reaching consequences, the three find themselves in over their heads. Years later, Milo—who has become a famous poet and professor—struggles with the legacy of their time together.
Topics & Questions for Discussion
1. What is the significance of calling the unnamed hotel where Bridey, Milo, and Jasper work “Olympos?”
2. In speaking of the ruins in Greece, Jasper says, “It’s the damage they love, really; they say it’s the history, but it’s the damage. No one would care in the least if these things were new—covered with gaudy, bright primary colors like it was back then.” What do you think of his opinion? Do people have an appreciation f see more