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Book review: <i>A Farewell To Legs</i> by Scott Fivelson, read by Mariel Hemingway

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the cover of the book

Neo-colonialism, Nikes, and the meaning of life, death, and loss. Scott Fivelson knocks it out in four pages, and Mariel Hemingway adds dimensions with her glorious narrative.

The story

The runner is lost, completely separated from the group of the Trans-Africa marathon. He knows he's close to the end, metaphorically speaking, and there's something terribly wrong with his legs. While he lies on the ground, helpless, he looks back on the events of his life. But is he prepared for what comes next?

The style

This was my first foray into audiobooks. Being the luddite that I am when it comes to literature, it took ages of convincing for me to scrap paper in favour of Kindle, even though I know theoretically it's so much easier and people are so much more willing to send me books now. Similarly, I was pretty nervous about an audio book review, as I'd never listened to one before.

Mariel Hemingway is the granddaughter of Ernest Hemingway, author of A Farewell To Arms, so she seems a fitting narrator for the audio version of A Farewell To Legs, something of a Hemingway tribute. Mariel has a fantastic voice, it's expressive without being overwhelming and seems to intone all the right bits. After I got a copy of the story written out, I wouldn't have it narrated any differently.

The story itself is classic Fivelson, with his distinctive style evident at every turn. A Farewell To Legs, assisted by the expressive narration or Mariel, displays a decidedly gruff, rhythmic Hemingway-ish-ness, a resigned and tired old-man-ish-ness, and some cunning social commentary thrown in. Absolutely worth a listen or two.

Who is this book for?

Fans of either of the two Hemingways, Mariel having done such an excellent job at narration. I'm not actually sure the conditions under which people select an audio book, this being my first, as I mentioned above. I have a dyslexic friend who swears by them, so I will certainly recommend it to him. And the story is so lovely and short you could have it completed with a set of headphones on the bus to work, and then you could listen to it again on the way home.

If you like this book, you would also like...

The good news is, Scott Fivelson has written other things! There's his novel, Tuxes, there's his play, Dial L For Latch-Key, and there's his co-written short novella, Johnny Passe. Go forth and read!

The audiobook is available for download HERE!>

Or, to buy the story as written:

In short

Title: A Farewell To Legs
Author: Scott Fivelson
Publisher: Hen House Press
EISBN: 978-1-937890-16-2
Year published:
Pages: 8
Genre(s): Short story
Review Type: