Foundations of World Literature
January 3, 2007
Marathon Man by William Goldman
What is the definition of a good summer read? Sitting by the pool on a sunny day in July, readers want a tale of action and adventure, maybe with a little bit of romance thrown in as well. It has to be a novel that will keep the reader on the edge of his or her seat, wondering what will happen in the next chapter. Marathon Man by William Goldman is the perfect summer read. Most readers will find the beginning of the novel quite mysterious. In the first chapter, readers are introduced to the main character, who goes by the nickname Babe. He is a student at Columbia University in New York City and he is also training to compete in a marathon. The second chapter, however, is about an international assassin who uses the code name Scylla. The chapters continue to switch back and forth between these two characters, building suspense and leading the reader to wonder: what is the connection between these two men? The answer comes about a third of the way through the book. It turns out that Scylla is Babe’s older brother. Babe, however, has no idea what his older brother actually does for a living. While visiting Babe in New York City, Scylla is murdered by a rival assassin and dies in Babe’s arms. However, the killer believes that Scylla told Babe about a hidden stash of diamonds just before he died. Babe is suddenly thrust into a world of spies, assassins and double agents. He does not know who can be trusted and who is out to get him. The one asset Babe has is strength and endurance from his marathon training. Will this be enough for him to escape from danger? Does he have the toughness to endure torture, deceit, and a Nazi dentist? The author, William Goldman, has created a suspenseful page-turner of a novel. The reader, like Babe, is totally shocked and unprepared when his world collides with Scylla’s. Racing...