Spirit Run: A 6,000-Mile Marathon Through North America’s Stolen Land

Catapult. Mar. 2020. 240p. ISBN 9781948226462. $26. BIOG
Álvarez presents an extraordinary debut memoir about participating in Peace and Dignity Journeys (PDJ), which honor indigenous peoples in North, Central, and South America. Running and walking has grown as a form of healing, respecting, and organizing action on Native cultural rights in recent decades, and the author, as a 19-year-old son of working-class Mexican immigrants, made the decision to participate in 2014. Here, Álvarez records where and when he walked and ran, discusses his complex and at times chaotic interactions with other runners and organizers, his growing awareness of the land thorough the various people he meets, and his own sense of identity.
VERDICT The luminous writing of this well-crafted memoir seems as much a form of prayer and self-discovery as the marathon itself. Recommended for not only its appeal to long-distance runners, but also its contribution to the literature of modern social justice.

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