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Extended Audio Sample Racing the Rain: A Novel, by John L. Parker Click for printable size audiobook cover
4.5 out of 54.5 out of 54.5 out of 54.5 out of 54.5 out of 5 4.50 (2 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: John L. Parker Narrator: Jim Meskimen Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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From the author of the New York Times bestseller Once a Runner—“the best novel ever written about running” (Runner’s World)—comes that novel’s prequel, the story of a world-class athlete coming of age in the 1950s and ’60s on Florida’s Gold Coast.

Quenton Cassidy’s first foot races are with nature itself: the summer storms that sweep through his subtropical neighborhood. Shirtless, barefoot, and brown as a berry, Cassidy is a skinny, mouthy kid with aspirations to be a great athlete. As he explores his primal surroundings, along the Loxahatchee River and the nearby Atlantic Ocean, he is befriended by Trapper Nelson, “the Tarzan of the Loxahatchee,” a well-known eccentric who lives off the land.

In junior high school, quite by chance, Cassidy discovers an ability to run long distances, but his real dream is to be a basketball star. Still, Cassidy absorbs Nelson’s view of running as a way of relating to and interacting with the natural world. Though he is warned of Nelson’s checkered past, Cassidy dismisses the stories as superstitious gossip—until his small town is stunned by the disappearance of a prominent judge and his wife. Cassidy’s loyalty to his friend is severely tested just as his opportunity to make his mark as a gifted runner comes to fruition.

John Parker’s prequel to the New York Times bestseller Once a Runner vividly captures how a runner is formed and the physical endurance, determination, and mindset he develops on the way to becoming a champion. Racing the Rain is an epic coming-of-age classic about the environments and friendships that shape us all.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “For a young man or woman, the twenty-first century onslaught against purity and potential offers very few havens, but John L. Parker Jr.‘s lovely novel, Racing the Rain, reminds us that within amateur sports, especially a good foot race, all of us, athletes and spectators alike, might find what is most valuable in any life—the spirit to accomplish impossible things.”

    Bob Shacochis, National Book Award winner and author of The Woman Who Lost Her Soul

  • Racing the Rain is a clear explanation of the beauty of our simple sport and why that beauty is so priceless…Racing the Rain is about friendship and struggle and the fun of being a kid who is feeling his way through life. Truly, every runner will say ‘I know what you mean, John’ when they read this book.”

    Bill Rodgers, four-time winner of the Boston Marathon

  • Racing the Rain’s depiction of the running life and the Florida of an era gone by is wonderfully authentic. Among those who’ve tried to capture the drama and beauty of the sport, John L. Parker Jr. is surely the best.”

    Jeff Galloway, US Olympian

  • A BookPage Book of the Day

Listener Opinions

  • 4.666666 out of 54.666666 out of 54.666666 out of 54.666666 out of 54.666666 out of 5 by Suzy... | 8/30/2015

    " This is a prequal to another novel already published but I decided to listen to this first. It's wonderfully narrated and the narrator does a great job handling both the teenage characters and adults voices well. We follow schoolboy Cassidy in High School and longing to be in the basketball team. Unfortunately his talent seems to lie in running, but he takes a while to come to terms with this. There's not much plot, we just follow his life through school, home and friends as this slow drama builds a picture of small town America in the 60s. I found it lovely to listen to and would highly recommend the novel and narrator. "

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About the Author

John L. Parker Jr. has written for Outside, Runner’s World, and numerous other publications. A graduate of the University of Florida’s College of Journalism as well as its College of Law, Parker has been a practicing attorney, a newspaper reporter and columnist, a speechwriter for then governor Bob Graham, and editorial director of Running Times magazine. The author of Once a Runner, Again to Carthage, and Racing the Rain, he lives in Gainesville, Florida, and Bar Harbor, Maine.