RUNNER MACK by Barry Beckham


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An extended nightmare of Henry Adams' trip through what is optimistically called life. He comes up from the south, hoping to play baseball with the magic NY Stars, but takes a job doing something-or-other in one of those 1930-type horror factories to support Beatrice, the light-skinned wife who probably is too good for him -- just like her father said. Sex is not like it was that glorious first time in the back seat of a car and the noise of the insanely magnified New York City makes it impossible to talk about anything. But it's almost bearable until the Army drops by (just time enough to kiss the wife goodbye) to send him caribou and man-hunting in Alaska. A hip, jive-y, uppity black called Runner Mack politicizes Henry, which is no mean trick, and gets him to join in the inevitably betrayed Revolution, and Runner Mack kills himself, and the reader is left with a very specific feeling of despair. The prose is ugly, jarring, and absolutely compelling, as is this surreal horror story in which bizarre events are described with a matter-of-fact realism completely freaky in its apparent offhandedness.

Pub Date: Sept. 11th, 1972
ISBN: 0931761158
Publisher: Morrow