Girl Runner

Author(s): Carrie Snyder


Girl Runner, Carrie Snyder's debut novel, is the story of Aganetha Smart, a former Olympic athlete who was famous in the 1920s, but now, at age 104, lives in a nursing home, alone and forgotten by history. For Aganetha, a competitive and ambitious woman, her life remains present and unfinished in her mind. When her quiet life is disturbed by the unexpected arrival of two young strangers, Aganetha begins to reflect on her childhood in rural Ontario and her struggles to make an independent life for herself in the city. Without revealing who they are, or what they may want from her, the visitors take Aganetha on an outing from the nursing home. As ready as ever for adventure, Aganetha's memories are stirred when the pair return her to the family farm where she was raised. The devastation of WWI and the Spanish flu epidemic, the optimism of the 1920s and the sacrifices of the 1930s play out in Aganetha's mind, as she wrestles with the confusion and displacement of the present. Part historical page-turner, part contemporary mystery, Girl Runner is an engaging and endearing story about family, ambition, athletics and the dedicated pursuit of one's passions. It is also, ultimately, about a woman who follows the singular, heart-breaking and inspiring course of her life until the very end.


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Former Olympic runner, Aganetha Smart is 104, alone in a nursing home, forgotten by family and history. Until two young strangers come and kidnap her and take her on a journey back into her past. From acclaimed Canadian writer Carrie Snyder, Aganetha Smart's story is singular, heartbreaking and gripping to the last page.

A beautiful, thoughtful homage to those forgotten women who stepped outside the boundaries of what was allotted to them, and a testament to the struggles and sacrifices that paved the way for the female athletes who followed. Quill & Quire Girl Runner fuses history and personality to create an inspiring record of the need for speed... a well-paced book that weaves together the past and present narratives of an uncompromising woman's life. We are sped through an accessible read that deftly touches on the difficult subjects of gender equality, abortion, and the obstacles women face in professional sports. Throughout the novel, Snyder, a distance runner herself, manages to capture the essence of the need to run, that marrow-deep desire... At its core, Girl Runner manages to remind us of the challenges often set before women attempting to achieve something once thought to be dangerous or out of reach, or even quite simply attempting to achieve the life they desire. Globe and Mail The book is easy to leap into and be carried along with, the pace at once steady and breathless... Throughout Girl Runner, the historical context is always pressing in, whether it be in the form of war or a stock market crash or an epidemic. These events are world-shaping, and the details and specificity that Snyder is able to bring into Girl Runner enhance without distracting. However, what defines the novel is the depth and breadth of Aggie herself; she's a rare heroine whose rich internal life is matched only by the abundance of her external living. Her complexities, her desires and failures and her deep relationships are the book's heart; her connections to her family and friends, her mentors and antagonists, are authentic and beautifully wrought. National Post (Canada) Carrie Snyder strikes gold with her debut novel... Girl Runner is a marvelously complex novel that never loses its way... Taken in their totality, you end up with a powerful novel that chronicles the struggle of woman in the 20th century to take control of their bodies - a struggle that continues into the new millennium. Waterloo Record The protagonist of Carrie Snyder's Girl Runner is fierce and uncompromising. Snyder resists the temptation to soften edges or make Aganetha's old and brittle bones beautiful... There are flashes of Morag Gunn in Aganetha and, as a reader, I could ask for nothing more in this debut novel than to be reminded of Margaret Laurence's most searing character. Toronto Star In Girl Runner, an exquisitely crafted, deeply imagined novel, former Olympic athlete Aganetha Smart comes to vibrant, often aching life. As she pursues her dream, negotiates the travails of achieving much early in life and navigates the complexities of family and friendship, her captivating story unfolds with the sure-footedness of an elite runner. Cathy Marie Buchanan, bestselling author of THE PAINTED GIRLS Girl Runner is everything I had hoped it would be. It is crisp and smart and lyrical. It is a page-turner... What I most loved about the book is the description of Aganetha's ambition. I don't think there are enough stories about female ambition. Snyder describes ambition not as something hard or calculating, but as if it is something organic, born and not made by the goal-setting cheers of the chorus of life coaches that seem so loud in the 21st century. 4 Mothers blog Snyder maintains an engaging blog called Obscure CanLit Mama, but if there's any justice she'll soon have the option of dropping that first word. Montreal Gazette Snyder has an uncanny ability to make the unfamiliar intensely knowable. Telegraph Journal

Carrie Snyder is the author of two books of short fiction. Her second, The Juliet Stories, soon to be published by Two Roads, was a finalist for the 2012 Governor General's Award and a Globe and Mail Top 100 book. Girl Runner, her debut novel, has been shortlisted for the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize. Carrie lives in Waterloo, Ontario with her family and blogs as Obscure CanLit Mama.

General Fields

  • : 9781444792645
  • : Hodder & Stoughton General Division
  • : Two Roads
  • : February 2015
  • : United Kingdom
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Paperback
  • : 1
  • : 328
  • : Carrie Snyder