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The Long Run: A Novel Hardcover – November 14, 2006


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In his debut novel, longtime Canadian English teacher Furey spins bleak material—orphans abused by sadistic priests—into a moving and uplifting story. Furey's tale takes place in a Newfoundland orphanage in the early 1960s. While the school is grim and the corporal punishment the students receive is brutal, the boys band together to create the families they all lack. The book is filled with vivid characters, like Oberstein, a bright Jewish kid who continually peppers priests with hypotheticals about church dogma, including whether spit could have baptismal uses. Hope is in short supply at the orphanage, and many of the boys fall victim to "the spells," dark periods of dread and depression. To create something to look forward to, a group of students decides secretly to train to run a marathon and they sneak out at night for training runs. The event creates a sense of drama and propels the story, but it also allows the boys to bond over a common cause. Inspirational without being mawkish, Furey's debut is a shoo-in for book clubs. (Nov.)
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From Booklist

*Starred Review* This winning first novel is set during the 1960s at a Newfoundland orphanage for boys run by the Christian Brothers. There's never enough food, the dorms are always freezing, and the discipline is harsh, but Aidan Carmichael and his band of cohorts, known as the Dare Klub, combat the grim atmosphere with their own brand of anarchy. Led by the street-smart Blackie, the boys steal wine from the sacristy and bread from the bakery, give each other tips on dealing with girls and manipulating their teachers, and, most importantly, help each other endure "the spells," when feelings of loneliness threaten to overwhelm. In their most exhilarating scheme, they band together to train in the dead of night for an annual marathon. Furey keeps the humor flowing, making the most of Brother McCann's frequently incoherent monologues and dialogues, when, in between administering vicious whacks to his students, he attempts to explain the finer points of Catholic theology via convoluted baseball metaphors and perplexing essay topics ("What If Jesus Were Japanese?"). Most affectingly, within the boys' small but fearless acts of rebellion, Furey encapsulates the life-affirming resilience of youth. Joanne Wilkinson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Trumpeter; First Edition edition (November 14, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 159030411X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590304112
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.7 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,981,805 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

You will smile and cry and roll on the floor laughing with the boys.
Charlie
Mr. Fury jolts his reader onto the scene experiencing, seeing and feeling his characters' story from the very first page.
A Customer
This is a tender and insightful story of survival, told with compassion, grace, wisdom and humor.
Sam Pillsbury

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 14, 2004
Format: Paperback
With the plethora of novels on today's market, it is indeed a rare experience to read a novel with characters you feel an instant connection to and who cause you to feel that gut-wrenching desire to see them do well as their story unfolds. Mr. Fury jolts his reader onto the scene experiencing, seeing and feeling his characters' story from the very first page. Knowing the story was about boys living in an orphanage run by Catholic brothers in the 1960's, I fully expected to be depressed and saddened after the read. Nothing could have been further from my stereotypical expectation. You'll laugh, cry and ultimately feel uplifted by the spirit of belonging and family that is so eloquently woven into the realities, good, bad and indifferent, of the lives of these orphan boys whose spirit and story stay with you long after you put the book down. Bravo Mr. Furey!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Charlie on December 26, 2004
Format: Paperback
Most of us would agree that our book budget is much too limited, but the first thing I did when I started to read this book was to buy it for a friend that needed to read it. He attended a Catholic boys' school in New England. I grew up as a ward-of-the-court in the 1950's in a county-run home for girls in NW PA and can recognize the "below the radar" life of the Dare Club boys. They are as vivid in my mind as my long-ago "home sisters." I claim them as the brothers we never had.
If you want a reading experience that lingers in the memory as a real-life experience, this is the book that will do that. You will smile and cry and roll on the floor laughing with the boys. The courage and spiritual bouyancy of youth will refresh your own as they meet both heartbreak and horror head-on, and you will share in their triumph.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A. A. Tranmer on January 24, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Read this book. It's a story about an orphanage in Canada in the 60's. Every sentence will weave its way a little deeper into your heart until the fate of the boys is tantamount to your own. A great story about love, loss and comradery, with some humor folded in to fortify you, Furey develops lovable characters in the voice of a child with the wisdom of an old man.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By AJ Monaghan on May 11, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Having been born and raised an Irish Catholic on the east coast of the United States surprisingly had little to do with the strong connection I immediately felt with the characters in The Long Run. The school boys and Roman Catholic Brothers in this novel are truly for every man. The fact that the author is a Newfoundlander should surprise no one who is familiar with their Celtic sensibilities. Leo Furey has an outstanding ability to instantly attach you to his characters by describing them in very concise yet eloquent prose. The love and understanding he has for them are instantly conveyed to the reader in a way unlike most contemporary writers with whom I am familiar. Even if I had never been scolded by a "well-meaning" nun nor strapped by a "dutiful" priest, the boys and Brothers of Mount Cashel would be dear to my heart for good or for bad. This first novel has every sign of being truly from the heart. A heart that lies within all of us.
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By CincinnatiPOV on April 11, 2010
Format: Paperback
Furey writes about an orphanage in Canada in the 1960s run by Catholic brothers. He primarily focuses on about a dozen boys, 3 or so brothers and the story itself is narrated by Aidan Carmichael. This is a strange book to review. I can confidently state that it was a good beach read with an easy, entertaining story but not something that will stick with me over time. I like a book whose story makes a mark, or that introduces ideas that makes me pause and think for a bit. If not that, then what's the point?

The part of this book that is enjoyable is reading about these ragamuffin boys at the orphanage, which is running on a shoestring budget and trying to keep all of its tenants disciplined and educated. Furey does a great job of making real people out of the characters so you feel you know them. Brother McCan is strict, eccentric and spits everywhere. The brother nicknamed Rags is softhearted and like a sibling. Randall Bradbury, nicknamed Bug, is a smartass with an ailing heart. Willieam Jefferson Neville is nicknamed Blackie because he's ... black. He's also an American from Harlem and leads the gang-like club of boys focused on in the story.

This is where the book loses me. Furey's over-reliance on stereotypes throughout the story feels cheap. He drops disturbing facts throughout the tale, as if to say "See! I know what was happening back then!" but does little to explore those facts or integrate them well into the story. He alludes a few times to sexual misconduct at the orphanage between brothers and orphans. Then he comes right out and says it. And each time the story moves right along as if that little nugget was never stated. It left me feeling like Furey was taking easy jabs at the church rather than making any statement about the issue itself.
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Format: Paperback
In a time plagued by endless documentaries and directional books The Long Run is a breath of inspirational fresh air. The long run is a beautiful tale which is not just a colorful story but also a standard to live our lives. Hidden behind the compelling characters are gems of truth manifesting themselves in such a potent fashion. Opptomistic and positive viewpoints expressed by the boys in the face of adversity transcend the reader to ask more philosophical questions. Insightful truths of life are conveyed by Furey through detailed and emotional events that make the reader relate to the boys and for a moment we try to understand their struggles and parallel them with our own. Fail or prevail we must.
Overarching everything else in the The Long Run is the notion of the imagination and 'our reality.' This is fascinating. Combined with the dramatic events and heartfelt and believable characters, this point comes home poetically. We are all on a long run. We imagine where we are and to where we are going. And, anything is possible if we believe.
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