Tuesday, April 1, 2008

A Bet with Mrs. Robinson

We've got a real speedster on our DFMC team this year - young Jeff - who recently ran a 5k in 17:03 and cranked out a 1:18:07 at the New Bedford Half-Marathon. He's also smart (recently graduated from Brown) and well-read (loves the classics). And at this point I will remind myself I am a happily married mother of 3 and old enough to be his mother!

This will be Jeff's first marathon, which means he will start with the rest of the charity runners back in the 22nd coral (Wave 2). My qualifying time from NYC places me in the 6th coral this year (Wave 1). This means I will get a 30 minute start on young Jeff PLUS the time he'll spend trying to manuever his way around thousands of 12 minute mile runners in his attempt to start his sub 7 minute race pace. I am guessing that he will finish (chip time) around 2:45...and my goal is around 3:15. And now we have a bet.

We are racing gun time, not chip time. That is, whoever crosses the finish line first is the winner. If I finish first, then he must read Jane Austen's last novel, Persuasion. (the Austen novel of my choice - I'm guessing that at some point in highschool he had to read Pride and Prejudice ). And if he finishes first, I will read Gravity's Rainbow (his favorite novel) byThomas Pynchon.

Now, let's compare the two synoposis:

His book (mature readers only): Tyrone Slothrop, a GI in London in 1944, has a big problem. Whenever he gets an erection, a Blitz bomb hits. Slothrop gets excited, and then (as Thomas Pynchon puts it in his sinister, insinuatingly sibilant opening sentence), "a screaming comes across the sky," heralding an angel of death, a V-2 rocket. The novel's title, Gravity's Rainbow, refers to the rocket's vapor arc, a cruel dark parody of what God sent Noah to symbolize his promise never to destroy humanity again.

Hmmmm....not typically something I would pick off a shelf.

My book (general audience): Persuasion follows the romance of Anne Elliot and naval officer Frederick Wentworth. They were happily engaged until Anne’s friend, Lady Russell, persuaded her that Frederick was “unworthy.” Now, eight years later, Frederick returns, a wealthy captain in the navy, while Anne’s family teeters on the edge of bankruptcy. They still love each other, but their past mistakes threaten to keep them apart.

Now, doesn't that sound romantic!?

Runners and readers...on your mark, get set, GO!


Kristina Pinto said...

Oh, Sarah, run hard and run fast. Brian read Gravity's Rainbow when we were in grad school, and his review included things like "prose on acid."

sarah said...

Oh my...I just realized that GR is also 768 pages compared to Persuasion (272 pages ). We might need to add in Emma (572 pages) for a fair bet.

Anne said...

It took me 6 minutes to get to the starting line last year. That's 36 minutes for you. Maybe you'll cross holding hands over your heads!

Jack said...

Then again, by virtue of his stellar 1:18 half marathon, Jeff may get moved up in the corral system - no guarantees - but the drama builds

What a great description of Gravity's Rainbow - "prose on acid"