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The Long Run written by Leo Furey


The Long Run written by Leo Furey


From a hill above town, the Mount Kildare Orphanage for Boys looks down on the small city of St. John’s, Newfoundland. The year is 1960.  The orphanage is always cold, there is never enough to eat, and the Catholic Brothers who run the home are heavy-handed in their religious discourses and harsh in their discipline.  Here, a group of boys manages to look out for each other and live by their own set of rules.

By day the boys are obedient students, but when the sun goes down the Dare Klub rules the night: raiding the bakery; stealing sacramental wine; and talking endlessly about girls, sex, and the merits of Floyd Patterson versus Willie Mays. Above all, they help each other through the waves of loneliness and sadness that they all experience. Their secret society is their law and their family. But when the Brothers discover the wine is missing, they go on a manhunt, offering payoffs and bribes to any boy who will rat out the culprits.

To buck up the frightened boys’ courage, the Dare Klub’s leader, Blackie, creates a program of secret training for the annual St. John's marathon. The boys sneak out at night for running sessions in the hours before morning prayers, devising elaborate rituals to protect their secrecy. Leo Furey has created a classic coming-of-age story of dazzling scope and powerful insight, leavened with razor-sharp wit.

Publishers Weekly

In his debut novel, longtime Canadian English teacher Furey spins bleak material orphans abused by sadistic priests into a moving and uplifting story. Furey's tale takes place in a Newfoundland orphanage in the early 1960s. While the school is grim and the corporal punishment the students receive is brutal, the boys band together to create the families they all lack. The book is filled with vivid characters, like Oberstein, a bright Jewish kid who continually peppers priests with hypotheticals about church dogma, including whether spit could have baptismal uses. Hope is in short supply at the orphanage, and many of the boys fall victim to "the spells," dark periods of dread and depression. To create something to look forward to, a group of students decides secretly to train to run a marathon and they sneak out at night for training runs. The event creates a sense of drama and propels the story, but it also allows the boys to bond over a common cause. Inspirational without being mawkish, Furey's debut is a shoo-in for book clubs. (Nov.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

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