Running the Rift. Naomi Benaron.

Benaron, Naomi. Running the Rift. HarperCollins Toronto, 2012. F;05/12

This is another book I loved in spite of irrational worries engendered by the book jacket that the author was going to be a self-inflating bore. She’s a scientist (an Earth scientist), a triathlete, a championship do-gooder, and a prize-winning author. And the story is set in Africa and involves genocide. Recipe for a thinly-disguised ego trip.

But for all that she serves up an honestly gripping sports story entangled with political intrigue and the realistically-rendered slow tumbling of a society into hideous nastiness. The style gets precious but it’s forgivable because that only happens at times when we feel real emotion on behalf of the little-bit larger-than-life credible characters.

There were a couple of very well-chosen quotes, one from Ecclesiastes (9:10) that I took to heart (I prefer the King James raised as I was in the 1950s):

Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.

I guess there really are people who unabashedly and unselfconsciously go for the gusto at multiple difficult things, and succeed. At very least Naomi Benaron is good enough to fool me. 8.9

About John Sloan

John Sloan is a senior academic physician in the Department of Family Practice at the University of British Columbia, and has spent most of his 30 years' practice caring for the frail elderly in Vancouver. He is the author of "A Bitter Pill: How the Medical System is Failing the Elderly", published in 2009 by Greystone Books. His innovative primary care practice for the frail elderly has been adopted by Vancouver Coastal Health and is expanding. Dr. Sloan lectures throughout North America on care of the elderly.
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