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Marathon Man ✸ [PDF] ✈ Marathon Man By William Goldman ✴ – Tom Babe Levy is a runner in every sense racing tirelessly toward his goals of athletic and academic excellence and endlessly away from the specter of his famous father's scandal driven suicide But an Tom Babe Levy is a runner in every sense racing tirelessly toward his goals of athletic and academic excellence and endlessly away from the specter of his famous father's scandal driven suicide But an unexpected visit from his beloved older brother will set in motion a chain of events that plunge Babe into a vortex of terror treachery and murder and force him into a race for his life and for the answer to the fateful uestion Is it safe.

10 thoughts on “Marathon Man

  1. Flannery Flannery says:

    I honestly had no clue what Marathon Man was about before I started reading it I started a book club when I moved to Seattle a year ago and each month we pick a new genre and roll with it We picked thrillersuspense for January and then looked to see what the mostly highly shelved and rated books in the genre were and added a few to our poll This won so I acuired it and jumped in I think it made it uite a bit fun having no clue what the story was about or where it was going I haven’t seen the movie so I’ll try not to ruin anything in this review Marathon Man opens with two angry old men in a road rage situation in New York City which results in a string of events involving Nazis espionage and a Jewish grad student who runs marathons It is basically an adrenaline fueled rush all the way to the ending Babe Levy the aforementioned grad student has the uncanny ability to remember historical facts just like his father before him The father whose life and career were ruined by McCarthyism Babe’s only family is his brother Doc whom Babe resents a bit for doing corporate work of a sort and collecting hoity toity interests After Babe begins dating a German student and writes to Doc about his feelings his brother shows up at his apartment and Babe finds out that several things are not as they seem And that is about as far into the plot as I can go without spoiling it all I had rather high expectations going into this book because it was written by William Goldman of The Princess Bride fame I’d hoped that he could write a thriller with the same humor he injected into both that book and the movie screenplay based on it Was there humor Not really but he certainly knows how to keep the reader intrigued and there are several scenes I won’t soon forget Something that might be a positive for readers is that the pacing roars along allowing readers to frantically flip pages until they’ve finished the book in one sitting However I thought the characterization lacked a bit because of it There are several German characters I kept confusing with each other and they along with a few other characters left me practically begging for of the backstory It reminded me of the characters in Jasper Fforde’s BookWorld who try to invent interesting tidbits about themselves to interject into their acting Character 1 generally evil henchman German broad shouldered I found it perplexing though that some complete randomness was interjected instead of helpful characterization—did we really need to know about so and so’s favorite Argentinian laundress I will say that Goldman knows how to write torture death and chase scenes which really covers all the bases in a thriller And I liked the seventies feel to it Thrillers are interesting to me when they aren’t utilizing the newest technology and people have to base their life and death prospects on skill and luck rather than their knowledge of advanced weaponry Plus who doesn't love reading about assassins going after assassins Now that I’ve read the book I can’t wait to see the movie which stars Dustin Hoffman as Babe Levy I want to see if the film captures the anxiety I felt during the dentist scene the point when Levy finds out about the double crosser the bank escape scene and the ending these are pretty general non spoiler mentions If you think I should spoiler them let me know 35 stars

  2. Algernon (Darth Anyan) Algernon (Darth Anyan) says:

    William Goldman entered on my favorite authors list based on a single book The Princess Bride This second book I've tackled is a completely different kettle of fish a conspiracy theory thriller but in its own special way it is just as accomplished and memorable as the fantasy one I would say that if Princess Bride is a fantasy fairytale for those who don't usually read fantasy books Marathon Man is a high octane thriller for those who don't normally read spy and conspiracy books Parallels between the two feel slightly forced given the different genre conventions but I will mention compact writing 'just the interesting bits' careful plotting great sense of humor deft touch at dialogue with uotable one liners You're much too trusting and it's going to cause you grief someday Welcome to someday Just for the thriller add a sense of menace and unbearable tension real edge of the seat scenes that I can't describe without spoiling the surprises the book has in store By the way if you haven't seen the movie I'm glad I didn't stay away from the wikipedia synopsisWithout spoilers it is difficult to describe the plot Let's just say it all develops from a prologue of two elderly grumpy New Yorkers a Jew and a German getting into a lethal car race in the middle of Manhattan Cut to the obligatory innocently bookish hero caught in conflict he knows nothing about Thomas Babington Babe Levy is a postgraduate student in social history with a passion for running his heroes are Paavo Nurmi and Bikila Abebe and an awkard manner around girls He has a troubled past another genre staple but it works well here with a father who commited suicide after a McCarthy witch hunting and an elder brother who gave up a brilliant academic career in the aftermath My favorite passage describing his history studies is a game I like to play with wikipedia something Babe didn't have access to in the 70's pick up a year and do a snapshot of the events and people that made it memorable try to make the connections between apparently random occurences 1875 Boss Tweed went to jail in New York City around then which meant lots of big city rulers around Big Power men to each town its own Dick Daley and Christian Science began then too old Mary Eddy and her nut notions and when was the first Kentucky Derby Same period and the first telephone exchange began right almost exactly when Custer got his lumps at the Little Big Horn Getting back to the plot I found it extraordinary how well the author worked at foreshadowing Nothing is random view spoiler the prologue accident the gang of Puerto Rican lazing on the porch a tooth ache the marathon references hide spoiler

  3. Brian Brian says:

    It is so nice when the right book opens at the right time; when you're fidgety and middle seat suffering on a three hour flight and nothing but a ripping yarn will salve that claustrophobia Take me away Calgon Marathon ManI knew that Dustin Hoffman starred in the movie adaptation of this novel but my knowledge of the story ended there I am a complete babe in the woods when it comes to thrillers friends familiar with the genre would probably have seen all the twists coming twenty pages ahead so it was a blast to enjoy the roller coaster ride Goldman is famous and lauded for his ability to write screenplays and his prowess for developing rich characters and taut dialogue are well on display here keeping the action moving at a brisk pace Recommended for those looking for a fun read between meaty tomes A literary palate cleanser

  4. Checkman Checkman says:

    Okay it's the mid seventies and times aren't so great in the United States Watergate Vietnam recession inflation energy crises oil embargo dramatic increase in crime Richard Nixon and Disco People were tired wearing double knit polyester leisure suits angry afraid of everything paranoid and feeling spiritually bankrupt So along comes William Goldman with Marathon Man A grim violent paranoid thriller People ate it up Looking at it thirty five years later it's apparent that Goldman wrote a novel that was tapping various ills and fears of the time Old Nazis in South America uncontrolled government agents engaged in nefarious activities that might not be for our own good the hangover from McCarthy and a feeling that the whole system was running out of steam and falling apart It's actually fairly calculating It was a huge seller and a very popular movie I'm not ashamed to say that I like it Perhaps because in 2011 we're right back to the same situation with a few new twists Are there aspects that have aged Yes We now expect our thrillersespionage novels to be loaded with tons of technical details Almost pornographic in the attention to detail Everything from weapons to electronic devices Thank you James Bond and Tom Clancy Well there is neither in this story People have to use their wits physical skills and also rely on that most unreliable of things luck Cars are just called cars and firearms are referred to as pistols and revolvers Nothing and nothing less Of course there are no cell phones iPhone Apps iPods and so on The characters use plain old fashioned phonesIt's very refreshing in a retro way Of course it wasn't retro at the time was itIn closing this is a cynical dark violent novel It's also intelligent witty in spots and a fast read I read it over a week A chapter or two every night before turning out my light I never dozed off while reading it which in my opinion is a compliment

  5. Wayne Barrett Wayne Barrett says:

    Back in the 70's I saw this movie starring Dustin Hoffman and I remember it being a pretty intense movie The scene that sticks with me to this day was the torture scene where the old Nazi dentistJewish prison camp doctor kept asking Thomas Babe Levy Is it safeWilliam Goldman author of Princess Bride did a fabulous job of writing this thriller with a very intelligent voice and a slight edge of humor Though a little weak at the end I thought the book was suspenseful and entertaining Warning and I hate myself for feeling I need to say this but it's the age this is a dated novel so if you are going to be offended by derogatory terms in this story then you might want to skip it But I will say this I grew up in that generation and Goldman stayed true to the times Yes like it or not that's the way they spokeThis is a great novel for those who enjoy mysterythrillers but be warned this one might make you a little shy about going back to your dentist

  6. Chris Chris says:

    An effective palate cleanser thrilling and fast It was made into a good movie On the other hand there is homophobia throughout the book of the particulary insulting kind which associates Nazis with homosexuality Goldman isn't blatant about it he is clever enough to make it subtle There are certain words dropped here and there The name Janey is used without pronouns leading the reader on and then violently revealing it's two men who are in some kind of a mutually destructive intmate relationship Goldman invents a fat debauched effeminate gay antiues dealer who converts diamonds stolen from concentration camp victims to cash funding the retirement of a notorious Auschwitz Nazi—yeah he has to be gay bucause no straight person would do such a thing or in fact ever own an antiues shop How stereotypically tiresomeThose bad guys are portrayed negatively in part by using their sexuality compromised morality They die in this book to pay for crimes against humanity done by themselves or others during World War 2 Thus it's stupidly superfluous that Goldman made them also die because of their sexuality as if being Nazi war criminals and collaborators wasn't uite enough to assure their eternal damnation or to make them distasteful to the reader This automatic essentially reflexive overloading of homosexuality onto Nazis and other evil people was common in literature of the 1970s and earlier—unfortunately it's still done today by public figures in politics and religion Just goes to show there is still much work to be doneRead this book as an artifact of the 1970s an era whose literature recorded its attitudes as it always does Use it to think how the times have changed and importantly how they haven't

  7. Peter Peter says:

    A classic thriller from the author of The Princess BrideIn the late 1970s my father had a rather serious heart attack Neighbors thoughtfully brought over books for him to read while he was bedridden Naturally enough they picked the bestsellers of that time I'm not sure if Dad read all of them but I did Shogun Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and Marathon Man were among themBy an odd coincidence all of those books have ended up being lifetime favorites for meIn many ways Marathon Man is uite dated It was written in the early 1970s and is very much a work of its time both in the writing style that Goldman uses and in the plot A graduate student the son of a celebrated intellectual who was destroyed by McCarthyism finds himself caught up in a bizarre situation with Nazis torture family love and murder And running of course; he's a marathon man Despite the early 70s feel however the book worksEvery reviewer talks about the dentistry scene That's understandable since it's very memorable But good as it is there are at least two other scenes in the book which are better than that one And one of them has never yet failed to give me the shivers and make the hair stand up on the back of my neck Even though I've read the book at least ten times in the past thirty years and to be honest that's just a guess I'd bet it's closer to twenty times and even though that scene has always stuck in my mind it still never fails to get me If you'd like to know which scene I'm thinking of read the book; if it isn't obvious to you after that drop me a lineA good book well worth reading I liked the movie too

  8. Stephen Robert Collins Stephen Robert Collins says:

    Are you due for a dental appointment Have you got tooth acheIs that filling loss Well don't read this before you go I often get this mixed up with Magic also by HimThis a real horror story to be read in the dentist surgary

  9. Patrice Hoffman Patrice Hoffman says:

    After completing Marthon Man by William Goldman I am certain that I will read the seuel This is the first novel I've read by Goldman I hear ya where's the rock I've been living under Many people are familiar with the movie featuring Dustin Hoffman Luckily I am not familiar with said movie but I do hope to be someday The novel begins explosively with two men having an all out war through the use of their Chevy's and VW's This accident leads to the death of both men and somehow strangely relates to our protagonist Tom Levy aka BabeBabe a brilliant grad student of history at Columbia in his mid twenties is hurled into a world of espionage intrigue Nazis rogue dentists and men repeating terms such as is it safe A world where there really is absolutely no one to trust Goldman really does a wonderful job at giving us readers someone to root for Babe isn't perfect and he knows it but he has some extremely endearing ualities He's smart funny and often very reflective On the other hand he's sad with his self doubt and low self esteem Babe is a very self aware character and it's obvious in the moments where we get to peer into his headThis novel isn't long so I'll try not to give away anything because there are no unnecessary moments in this book The characters move in very believeable and deliberate ways Goldman really does not let his foot off the pedal with this timeless thriller There are twists turns and surprises and really just a good novel overall Life is a marathon and not a sprint Only those who have the strength to endure win the race

  10. Sean O Sean O says:

    This is actually a well crafted thriller The plot moves right along and it has a really good twist right at the half way point that does a nice job There are only two problems 1 The dialog It's steeped in some really bad 70s lingo that would be fine in a movie script but really reads pretty dated in the novel 2 There's just a nagging sensation of things being just so The pieces move around the board to fit the plot not necessarily organically Things that are supposed to be random are really just clockworked to death I could forgive one or the other but both costs this book a fourth star It's a good story though Goldman tends to start his books with a non fiction forward which is delightful It makes me want to read his Adventures in the Screen Trade which is on my to buy pile

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