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Running After Antelope
by Scott Carrier

Published: 2002-03
Paperback : 144 pages
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Collecting nonfiction stories from his radio work, "This American Life" conributor Scott Carrier chronicles is coming-of-age pursuit of a wrioterly life with wit, stkyem and a grand passion for discovery.

The wildly various stories in Running After Antelope are connected and ...

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Introduction

Collecting nonfiction stories from his radio work, "This American Life" conributor Scott Carrier chronicles is coming-of-age pursuit of a wrioterly life with wit, stkyem and a grand passion for discovery.

The wildly various stories in Running After Antelope are connected and illuminated by a singular passion: the author's attempt to run down a pronghorn antelope. His pursuit-odd, funny, and inspired-is juxtaposed with stories about sibling rivalry, falling in love, and working as a journalist in war-torn countries. Scott Carrier provides a most unique record of a most unique life.

The signs that Scott Carrier was a writer and not an athlete showed up early. At the age of 12, Carrier was the free safety and captain of the defense on his football team. During one game he got his teammates into a huddle and told them he was going to do something different:

We're going to line up in a six-three, but as they get set I'm going to say a haiku, and I want you guys to start moving around, dance around, stand on your head, do whatever you want. We'll kill them. Ready, break!

When the quarterback started his count, Carrier shouted, "The wind brings dry leaves enough to start a fire!" and his teammates froze. When asked by his coach what on earth he'd been doing, Carrier calmly replied, "We're running a haiku." When pressed for a rationale, he said simply, "It was just an idea. It didn't really work out like I thought it would. I'm ready to move on, if you are."

And move on he did, crisscrossing the country as a contributor for NPR for nearly two decades. Some of his radio pieces (as well as longer essays written for Esquire and Harper's) have been collected in Running After Antelope. Sometimes sad, sometimes haunting, often funny, Carrier writes about travels to war-torn areas, personal relationship crises, and, of course, his quest to chase down an antelope--thus perhaps validating his vertebrate-morphologist brother's so-called running hypothesis: that humans became upright in order to breathe better.

In the book's final essay, Carrier is chasing after an antelope he calls the Lone Male. His friends have kept the animal running for almost an hour when it crosses Carrier's path. Relatively fresh, he takes off after it, "And I laugh. I laugh and I run and it is, for sure, the best thing I've ever done. I have everything I need, the wilderness is unfolding in front of me."

In the end, little is resolved--the wars and relationships continue, the thesis remains unproven. But Carrier would be the first to remind us that the pursuit--be it for peace, love, or science--has a purpose unto itself. Running After Antelope celebrates that pursuit in engaging fashion. --Sunny Delaney

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