AGAINST GRAVITY: From Paris to Dakar in the World's Most Dangerous Race by Ed. McCabe

AGAINST GRAVITY: From Paris to Dakar in the World's Most Dangerous Race

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An engrossing, if intensely self-serving, recount of a middle-aged advertising executive's yearlong preparation for and participation in the Paris-Dakar Auto Rallye. At age 47, McCabe set aside a self-made advertising empire to pursue a 29-year-old beauty named Carolyn and her fantasy of competing in the dangerous Paris-Dakar Rallye (8,000 miles, 22 days, including the Sahara Desert). The costs were exorbitant and the perils enormous, but--as McCabe states many times--nothing makes him more determined than the phrase ""You can't do that."" Relying on sheer grit, he and Carolyn, survived 11 grueling months of intensive preparation (working out, driving, designing a suitable vehicle), and actually managed to last in the race for eight days before running out of gas--physically, emotionally, and literally--in the desert. McCabe writes of all this with a remarkable talent for suspense, despite a propensity for repetition and nuts-and-bolts minutiae. Nonetheless, continual attempts at eloquence waver between the awkward and the ridiculous (""a mass of spectators stumbles drunkenly over the ancient domed paving stones like sardines inching around on their tails""); and, although he fares better when he goes with a pop style, he still comes off as distasteful ("". . .a gorgeous number in short shorts""), arrogant ("". . .I can honestly say that nothing I've ever done was considered possible"") and hopelessly obsessive. A supposed adventure tale that reads more like a key-to-success tome couched in the machismo of an auto race. The material is super, but the focus--McCabe's ego, McCabe's money, McCabe's midlife crisis--is not.

Pub Date: June 13th, 1990
Publisher: Warner