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Spirit Run

Nonfiction: Autobiography & Memoir
Unabridged   9 hour(s)
Publication date: 03/03/2020

Library Journal 2020 Title to Watch
New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice 2020
Amazon Editors Pick Best Nonfiction 2020

Spirit Run

A 6000-Mile Marathon Through North America's Stolen Land

Available from major retailers or BUY FROM AMAZON
Audio CD ISBN:9781696600460
Digital Download ISBN:9781684578702


The electrifying debut memoir of a son of working-class Mexican immigrants who fled a life of labor in fruit-packing plants to run in an Indigenous marathon from Canada to Guatemala, reimagining North America and his place in it.

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Product Description

Growing up in Yakima, Washington, Noé Álvarez worked at an apple-packing plant alongside his mother, who “slouched over a conveyor belt of fruit, shoulder to shoulder with mothers conditioned to believe this was all they could do with their lives.” A university scholarship offered escape, but as a first-generation Latino college-goer, Álvarez struggled to fit in.

At nineteen, he learned about a Native American/First Nations movement called the Peace and Dignity Journeys, epic marathons meant to renew cultural connections across North America. He dropped out of school and joined a group of Dené, Secwépemc, Gitxsan, Dakelh, Apache, Tohono O’odham, Seri, Purépecha, and Maya runners, all fleeing difficult beginnings. Telling their stories alongside his own, Álvarez writes about a four-month-long journey from Canada to Guatemala that pushed him to his limits. He writes not only of overcoming hunger, thirst, and fear—dangers included stone-throwing motorists and a mountain lion—but also of asserting Indigenous and working-class humanity in a capitalist society where oil extraction, deforestation, and substance abuse wreck communities.


"Narrator de Ocampo has a clear, youthful voice that expresses both the optimism and the fear that Álvarez feels along his path, as well as the pain of medical setbacks caused by extreme endurance running.” --Booklist Audio

"Yakima native Álvarez debuts with a spellbinding narrative of his coming to terms with his place in America today . . . In electric prose, Álvarez writes of returning home and forging a new connection with the land and its communities . . . This literary tour de force beautifully combines outdoor adventure with a sharp take on immigration." ―Publishers Weekly Starred Review

"A swift-moving lope across the continent . . . A thoughtful first book that should inspire others to lace up their running shoes and get moving." ―Kirkus Reviews

Author Bio

Noé Álvarez was born to Mexican immigrant parents and raised working-class in Yakima, Washington. He lives in Boston, where, until recently, he worked as a security officer at one of the nation's oldest libraries, the Boston Athenæum.