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Issue 75 - An actor's tale

Whisky Magazine Issue 75
October 2008


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An actor's tale

Jefferson Chase looks at a literary rule breaker

I love exceptions to the rule, and actors who write good novels rate pretty high on that list.

So I was quite pleasantly surprised to discover that Ron McLarty, the creator of 2005's The Memory of Running, is a veteran character actor.

The story begins in Rhode island with Smithson “Smithy” Ide, a self-described overweight, alcoholic slob, mourning the sudden deaths of his parents in overweight, alcoholic, slob fashion.

I had some small airplane bottles of Ten High I bought on sale at Rose's liquor store. I kept them under the Buick's seat...I opened one of the bottles and drank it. Sipped it, really, I sip the bourbon. Beer is more or less drunk; bourbon gets sipped. I sipped it all down, and then I sipped a couple more.

The colloquial style is no accident – Running was written as an audio book and only later got published in print form.

That was thanks to two factors, the first being Steven King. If the bestselling master of horror hadn't stumbled across and liked the audio version of Running, McLarty would have had no chance with publishers.

On a more tragic note, McLarty's own parents died in a car accident in Maine just like Smithy's.

That fact lends this novel an authenticity, an undeniable depth on the subjects of death and grieving, which most likely caught King's eye.

I think when someone dies, there ought to be a process where everything about them, like bills and taxes, slows down...As a matter of fact, they seem to come quicker and louder. In my pare...

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