Once in a while a book reviewer has the opportunity to preview a book that is destined to become a classic. Such is the case with Scott Carrier's RUNNING AFTER ANTELOPE.
Carrier has been a seeker of stories all his life; they have been broadcast on National Public Radio's "All Things Considered" and Ira Glass's "This American Life." This, his first book, is the story of a man who has traveled the world to remote places such as Cambodia and South America and has seen the reality of life. While he speaks with affection about the people with whom he has spent time, he also gives a vivid portrayal of the hardships people in parts of the world live with, hardships that many of us never see nor imagine.
Throughout RUNNING AFTER ANTELOPE, Carrier writes about his quest for years to do exactly that. His brother, who is a vertebrate morphologist, brought this idea into his life; and it became very important to Carrier that he understand how civilizations actually ran after an animal (that can maintain speeds of 40 miles per hour in extreme weather conditions) and succeeded in hunting it down to the final kill --- simply by running after it. A task, which on the surface, seems to be impossible --- and in his attempts, Carrier admits, the antelope always got away.
The point of running after an antelope, and the telling of stories from a journalistic point of view, is that there is a "chase" involved in both pursuits. He has combined the two together in a remarkable way to produce a book that is alive in the truest sense of the word. There is excitement in the turn of every page, so much so that the reader comes away from each story with a sense of being there beside Carrier as he transverses the continents in search of a story, feeling as if playing witness to the chase of an antelope.
After reading the book I did not want to give up Carrier's perspective on life and the world, so I listened to some of his stories online at www.thisamericanlife.com. Carrier is a wonderfully unique writer in everything he does, both in print and the spoken word. If it were within my power, RUNNING AFTER ANTELOPE would walk off with all of the awards for nonfiction this year. This is one book that will be hard to outdo.
Reviewed by Dave Taylor on February 19, 2001