async="src="/ Taking the Long Way Home: Book Review: Late Air by Jaclyn Gilbert

Friday, January 18, 2019

Book Review: Late Air by Jaclyn Gilbert

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.
 "Maybe people became the best and worst versions of what you projected onto them, she thought--they became the stories you told yourself, so they filled the holes of your own story, the ones you didn't want to look."~Jaclyn Gilbert, Late Air 
It's pretty rare to find fictional books about running, much less good fiction about running. Most of the running fiction books I've read have been about as exciting as the treadmill. I was excited to see Late Air by Jaclyn Gilbert as a new release and I wanted to read it, but I checked out the reviews before I committed to it.  Combined with positive feedback and a Kindle deal (which is still a bargain at 5.99), I downloaded the book and immediately dug in.

I couldn't put it down. In fact, I moved it to the top of my list of books to review for 2019. It was that good.



Late Air is a beautifully written but profoundly sad book about a former running phenom and college running coach, Murray, who has to face the music after one of his protegees has a tragic accident on an early morning run. His story is juxtaposed with that of his ex-wife, who is still grieving from a loss that broke up their marriage many years ago. Murray never dealt with that loss or the breakup of his marriage and obsessively throws himself at his protegee with plans to get her back to health. It's sad and pathetic all at once. Gilbert does a wonderful job of portraying Murray and I couldn't help but hate him and feel sorry for him all at once. 

Meanwhile, Murray's ex-wife, Nancy, drifts through life while trying to find meaning following that tragic loss from so long ago. It's so interesting to see her eventually get her life together while Murray's continues to deteriorate. I couldn't help but see the irony in that she, like so many of us, uses running to cope with her grief. 
"...it was one of the few times in her life when there was no room for thought--the sensations of her body superseded it, and if focusing on those sensations was the only thing she could do, when she finished each run, her mind felt that much freer to think new thoughts, to feel hopeful, she supposed, about what the day might bring..."
In the end, Murray is unable to suppress the pain and face the ghosts from the past. I was just amazed at how well Gilbert was able to pace the story and interweave scenes from the past with the plot, building to the climax. Gilbert herself is a runner, and I loved how she developed this story around running.  This book is as much about relationships as it as about running. While it all comes together to a satisfying conclusion, it isn't without anguish. Late Air left me with a book hangover! I cannot recommend this book enough.
Have you read Late Air? What did you think? Do you have a review you want to share? Send me your link!



Next month, we're shifting gears and reading Good to Go: What the Athlete in All of Us Can Learn From the Strange Science of Recovery by Christie Ashwanden, due to be released on February 5. I think this is going to be an entertaining read as Ashwanden explores products and services that offer athletes recovery and performance. Personally, I'm hoping that she tells us that beer is the ultimate race recovery beverage!


I'm linking this post with Fridays with Fairytales and Fitness.


24 comments :

  1. That sounds like a good book and I'll probably read it. I guess it's not too depressing? Or stressful? I need to escape my worries, not have them blown up on the page. ;-)

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    1. I didn't find it depressing. It was sad, tho--but I think it's the mark of a talented author when a book moves me the way this one did.

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  2. Sounds good! I agree: There's some really poorly written running-themed fiction out there. Yikes.

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  3. Sounds like a great book! I have been reading all non-fiction lately and I'm ready for a good story. I'll have to check it out.

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  4. I have not read late air but I do like to read non fiction books as well. Your next pick sounds like a winner as well! I am trying to read more this year thanks for your ideas

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  5. Sounds like a great, "real life" fictional piece. It's nice to find a page-turner that you can't put down....I love your comment about the book hangover LOL

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    1. The last book that gave me a hangover was Where the Crawdads Sing. Ooof!

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  6. This sounds like a great book! I'm gonna try to see if I can borrow it from the library! I don't think I've actually ever read a fiction book on running yet!

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  7. I've actually never read a running fiction book, but I will give this one a try since you liked it! I'm trying to read more this year so I always welcome your recommendations.

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  8. Sounds fantastic, I just requested a copy from my library! Thanks for the great review!

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  9. I have never heard of Late Air! Sounds like a great read.

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  10. OOH adding this to my list of books! I read so many non-fiction running books, I'm interested to read a fiction one

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  11. Sounds like a great read. I'm trying to up my reading game and while I am sitting at SFO right now dealing with my canceled flight, it looks like I'll have plenty of time to delve into the one I brought with me! I'll have to check out Late Air next.

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  12. Looking forward to Good To Go! Thanks for the link....I have it on order!!

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