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Marathon Man Paperback – July 3, 2001

4.2 out of 5 stars 113 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Superb . . . One hell of a read."
--The Washington Post

"WELL-PLOTTED, EXPERTLY CHARACTERIZED, AND FAST-PACED."
--Los Angeles Times

From the Inside Flap

William Goldman's remarkable career spans more than five decades, and his credentials run the gamut from bestselling novelist to Oscar-winning screenwriter to Hollywood raconteur. He's beloved by millions of readers as the author of the classic comic-romantic fantasy The Princess Bride. And he's notorious for creating the most harrowing visit to the dentist in literary and cinematic history--in one of the seminal thrillers of the twentieth century. . . .
MARATHON MAN
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 question, "Is it safe?"
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books; 1st Ballantine Books ed edition (July 3, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345439724
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345439727
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (113 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #282,919 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

William Goldman (b. 1931) is an Academy Award-winning author of screenplays, plays, memoirs, and novels. His first novel, The Temple of Gold (1957), was followed by the script for the Broadway army comedy Blood, Sweat and Stanley Poole (1961). He went on to write the screenplays for many acclaimed films, including Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969) and All the President's Men (1976), for which he won two Academy Awards. He adapted his own novels for the hit movies Marathon Man (1976) and The Princess Bride (1987).

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
William Goldman has a gift for creating three dimensional characters and larger than life situations that actually seem possible. Besides this his prose is entertaining with tight plotting.
Of his fiction Marathon Man is a perfect example of all the features of Goldman's skills. I remember starting to read this a few hours before a really hot date. I became so engrossed in the plot, the twists and turns and tension growing within Marathon Man which initiated a first for me. I called and ended up cancelling the date just to finish the last 100 pages.
It is a rare book that motivates me to drop everything else and read it from page to page. Marathon Man was the first and one of very few.
You feel for the protagonist and visualize his experiences in your minds eye. You feel the terror, the racing heartbeat and surprise with each page. Goldman had a run where he was the master of the thriller novel. Getting freaked out in a literate fashion is truly a unique experience, one you should experience if you have not yet read Marathon Man.
In the end I made up for my faux pas of cancelling the date in part by giving this book to the woman I cancelled on. She confirmed she couldn't put it down either, chances are neither will you.
Highest recommendations...
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Format: Paperback
Though he's best known as a screenwriter, William Goldman has also written quite a few novels of note. His best probably remains the thriller Marathon Man. With a nicely complex but hardly difficult plot and amazingly strong characterization from the major players to the minor placeholders, this is a thrilling, at times harrowing book that also manages to provide a great deal of humor and a strong subtext of lost dreams. With his villians, Goldman truly manages to capture the outright banality of some of the world's greatest evil. And as for his hero -- I would defy anyone not to root for poor, awkward Babe Levy from the first minute they meet him. In recent years, its become strangely unfasionable to run the risk of injecting anything resembling humor or humanity into thrillers and instead, those qualities have too often been replaced with meaningless violence and a smirking sadism. Read Marathon Man and see how great a good thriller can truly be.
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Format: Paperback
(...)
Marathon Man, by William Goldman, is an epic thriller, that which simply begs to be read over and over again. The initially mysterious characters and their odd lives that begin to intertwine and show themselves later on are enthralling, and the book is impossible to put down. Marathon Man attracts an audience of virtually anyone who can enjoy the typical fast-paced action-packed spy novel, and yet sense and enjoy the clever wit woven into the text by the author.
(...) When confronted with the question of "How good was this book?" I can only answer one way: Fantastic. The book sets the pace in the beginning with a cryptic car crash, the necessity of this being explained later on in a sort of "light-bulb over your head" moment. To read the book is to be frequently interrupted by your own intermittent cries of, "So that's who he was!" and "Oh! I get it! How amazing!". The narrator pelts with you sarcasm and charm throughout the book, making light of the most dire situations and adding a touch of surrealism to the whole situation in the protagonist's point of view. Every event in the book has some sort of logical place in the story. Nothing is insignificant. It's a puzzle, and the pieces gradually begin falling together as more and more is found out. You begin to crave to know more, to understand more, and you form your own ideas, predictions, and suspicions, until another puzzle piece falls into place and totally spins you around in bewilderment.
The only criticisms that could be genuinely made on the book are that the situation is almost fantasy and unreal. How many siblings do you have that are connected to Nazi scientists from Auschwitz?
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
William Goldman's "Marathon Man" is my favorite novel of all time. I have probably reread it 20 times. It can act as a virtual textbook on the creation of suspense and terror. Goldman has a firm grasp of what frightens people. He juxtaposes different points of view very effectively and creates characters which you cannot help but care about. It contains what is probably the most famous (and infamous) torture sequence ever commited to paper. The novel is violent but doesn't glorify violence which is a very delicate line to walk on. Goldman is wordsmith without peer. His prose sparkles and is memorable. He lately has been concentrating on screenplays and has not written a novel since 1986 (which coincidentally was a sequel to this novel called "Brothers".) I can only hope that he finds the time to produce a few more novels. Thirteen years has been too long to wait for another Goldman novel. Read all of his novels, you won't be disappointed.
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Format: Paperback
A well crafted thriller with interesting, complex characters. It is one that I did not want to put down. I only wish there were more pages to it with more background of the characters and more details. It is one that I did not want to end but couldn't wait to get through it to get the whole story.

This is a spy classic. It hasn't lost its edge over time at all. It is some of the best suspense, action writing I have read--skillful and artistic not like some of the packaged, thesaraus writing milled out by some of today's writers.

Go for it; you will be pleased I think.
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