I received a review copy of this book back in June, which was followed by a note a bit later in a Fight Club like tone that I was not to talk about the book until a month before publication. Which is in about a month from now. More or less. Kate Atkinson’s Life After Life is one of my favourite novels. Nietzsche and Kierkegaard are two favourite philosophers. Groundhog Day is one of my favourite films. But enough about me. In 7½ Deaths Aiden Bishop is stuck in a loop he cannot escape until he solves the murder of Evelyn Hardcastle. The twist is that he lives the same day seven times from seven points of view and if he cannot solve the murder then he has to start all over again, with no memory of the previous attempt. It’s a new twist on an old idea. Why 7½ deaths? It seems the half was added due to some confusion in the US around this and The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo because I know how simple it is to confuse husband with death…. I liked this book’s gothic elements and its relatively fresh take on the repetition concept. Unfortunately, I just did not like Aiden Bishop very much for no particular reasons I can give without spoilers, and I found the conclusion a bit dissatisfying. That said, it a pretty great debut novel from Stuart Turton, and I will look forward to more work from him.
Yesterday was long run number three on the road to my BQ at the Victoria Marathon in October. I set out to run 32KM and decided to mix it up a bit; rather than a long, slow, slog I would run 5KM easy and then 5KM at race pace and repeat that three times, then finish with a 1KM sprint and a 1KM jog home. But by 30KM there was nothing left to sprint 1KM so the final jog ended up being a little less under a mile. Afterwards analysis and all in all it went pretty well. My goal race pace for Victoria is 4:37/KM. My first five at race pace I managed to average 4:38/KM, second at 4:31, and the third was right on 4:37. I had no idea at the time; I felt like my pacing was all over the place. And it was to a degree, but it all averaged out in the end. So that felt good, even if not much else did. I spent a few hours afterwards thinking about my long runs last year while training for my first marathon and trying to remember if at the end of them I wanted to die then, too. If that’s the case, and I’m sure [hopeful] that it is, I seem to have blocked that part out. Eight weeks to go.
This is Beverley McLachlin’s first novel. She turns 75 this year. I assume she was distracted by being the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada. So if you’re worried that your first novel isn’t coming along quite as quickly as you had imagined, don’t fret. There’s still time. There’s probably still time. You should worry instead about becoming a household name so that someone will publish whatever it is you decide to write just because. Or you could write a decent novel and hope that there is still a publisher out there publishing decent novels. This novel, as it turns out, is decent. I found it to be an engaging read overall, with enough drama and suspense to keep me interested in spite of a bit of a slow start. It follows Jilly Truitt, an up-and-coming criminal defense lawyer, relatively fresh with her own law firm, as she takes on the biggest case of her career so far. I expected a simple narrative and was pleasantly surprised by the nuanced story arc and character development. There’s a plot twist that is alluded to early and often that becomes somewhat predictable. My only real complaint is that the end is a bit of a sprint to tie up all the loose ends. I liked the many Vancouver references, and I feel like Truitt has enough going for her, and unresolved, that could make for a sequel or serial, assuming McLachlin has another in her. The novel is released on May 1. Thanks for Simon & Schuster for the advanced review copy.
I capped off week 12 with my first long run since the First Half back at the beginning of February after realizing that I’m quickly running out of opportunities to get a 21+ into March since I’m heading to Victoria for the long weekend, and other excuses that don’t make much sense if you pause and think about it for a sec or two. I was apprehensive about taking my on-the-recovery knee out for a Sunday LSD but I really wanted to give it a test. So I decided to run a long route with no opportunity to tap out — over Burrard and up West 4th/Chancellor then back along Marine Drive. And it turned out okay. I’m pretty sure that it is my slowest 21+ run. It is my slowest since I started tracking with Strava. Before Strava I used the WalkTracker Pro app for iPhone, which I got for free from one of those freebee cards that Starbucks used to have on their pickup counter. I loved that app. The developers, apparently, did not, as evident from the fact that it hasn’t been updated as it hasn’t been updated since 2014 and no longer works on current or recent iOS. So I linked to it for sale in the App Store for nostalgia. My point is that once it stopped working for good I deleted it, and along with it all my running history, such as it was. Something in the back of my mind tells me that I probably downloaded all the data and stored the file away somewhere that I would probably never lose it, which it turns out is also somewhere I’ll probably never find it.
14. The Mercy Journals — Claudia Casper
week fifteen — 84.8
To date: 873 km
I was looking at my bookshelf and I have no idea how this book got there or where it came from or who it came from. Actually now that I think about it I think that Elee gave it to me when she returned some books that I’d lent her and this was not one of them but it ended up with me anyway so if you’re reading this and you are missing your copy of The Mercy Journals and you want it back I might have it. But I need to finish reading it before you can have it. Oh, and wouldn’t you know it, the book is dystopian, post-apocalyptic speculative fiction. I wasn’t even trying. So far it’s okay.
I ran 36.5 kilometres on Sunday and I didn’t die, though I also got a bit bored at the end and ended up running the last couple at a slightly sub 5 minute/kilometre, which is not exactly the goal of an LSD day. I still don’t quite understand the LSD but I’m still trying to follow it. Regardless, at the end of my Easter Sunday LSD I was pretty confident that I could easily do another 6 kilometres and being that according to this schedule I’m following it was my last long run before the marathon May 7 I’m pretty happy with my mental confidence and my physical level. I’m not sure that I’m going to meet my rather lofty goal of finishing in under 210 minutes. I’m okay with that. I think. We’ll see what happens race day.