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Book Notes: The Hike by Drew Magary

Notes on: The Hike by Drew Magary


The story of a short journey that turns into a long journey, by turns funny, strange, sweet, and exciting.

Ben is on a business trip to the Poconos. He's away from his wife and kids, and his hotel is boring, so he decides to go for a quick hike in the forest behind it. He ends up going someplace far stranger and unimaginable, and for far longer than he thought he would be hiking.

Like all journey-stories, this book is about fate and how our relationships with others and our world form the choices we make. Ben meets all manner of strange creatures (including giants, demons, ghosts, dog-faced killers, huge insects) and bizarre people (a 16th century conquistador, stranded out of time, and an irascible talking crab, among others) and these collisions change the choices that he makes while on the Path. And along the way, his memories of his wife and children are the distant light that keep him moving.

Lest I leave the impression that this is some dour, weighty book--Drew Magary is a really funny writer. If you know him, you know his hilarious contributions to Deadspin, and especially his LOL column "Why your team sucks." And while the book isn't exactly humorous, it is very funny in places, whether it's the repartee between Ben and the cannibal giant who captures him, or his maddeningly funny/frustrating experiences early in the novel trying to get his iphone to work. Even when the book is more serious, Magary's prose is fast and rich and his world-building and imaginative set-pieces are really striking.

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