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Three years ago, Ron McLarty was just another disillusioned writer with 10 unpublished novels gathering dust alongside hundreds of unreleased plays and short stories. Then Stephen King (who obtained an audiobook written and read by McLarty, who reads them for a living) raved about one of those books in Entertainment Weekly. The horrormeister called The Memory of Running “The Best Book You Can’t Read.” Within weeks, McLarty had a publishing deal. “People ask me if I get tired of talking about that,” says the 58-year-old author. “My biggest problem is getting the smile off my face.”

The Memory of Running (just released in paperback) centers on an obese man who bicycles across the country. It’s funny, touching — and not at all autobiographical, says McLarty. But the tale does have roots in his life. “My parents were in an automobile accident,” he says. “The book started as a long poem that had nothing to do with my mother and father. I then started telling their story to myself.”

After three decades of writing novels that nobody read (Running was the third completed, way back in 1988), McLarty is tweaking his latest book. “It’s nice that I’ve had to wait this long,” he says. “I can appreciate the nature of luck.”
Wed., Jan. 25, 7 p.m.

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