The Runner: A True Account of the Amazing Lies and Fantastical Adventures of the Ivy League Impostor James Hogue
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Echoing both The Great Gatsby and The Talented Mr. Ripley, the story of Hogue’s life before and after he went to Princeton is both an immensely affecting portrait of a dreamer and a striking indictment of the Ivy League “meritocracy” to which Hogue wanted so badly to belong. Drawing elegant parallels between Hogue’s ambitions and the American myth of self-invention, while also examining his own uneasy identification with his troubled subject, David Samuels has fashioned a powerful metaphor for the corruptions of the American dream, revealing exceptional gifts as a reporter and literary stylist.
Dansk china that looked like a gift from someone else’s wedding. His goal went beyond simple theft. He was aiming to assemble a new self out of the bits and pieces of other people’s lives. “This is a genuine antique engraving guaranteed to be more than 100 years old Framed 27 Cecil Court London,” read the fine print on a colorful portrait of a blue-hooded parakeet. The claim that it was a “genuine engraving” had probably struck him as funny. Hanging from the ceiling was a collection of fancy
experience painting people or dogs. Even in his crazy state, Jim had enough taste to put this stuff in storage. There was a carousel horse with thinning handfuls of genuine horsehair plastered to its scalp. There was a mounted mountain lion head, a pair of moose antlers, the head of a deer, a snowboard, a tennis racquet, a fax machine, and several power drills. There were two Burton Cruzer 145 snowboards. There were more kinds of crap than you could shake a stick at. The longer I live, the more
houndstooth jacket, a white button-down shirt, and a silk rep tie. The long hair was gone. His classmates talked about him as a likely candidate for a Rhodes scholarship. With his high grades, his athletic ability, his membership in Ivy, and his remarkable personal story, it was hard to imagine a more likely candidate. • Brian Sax is a regional vice president for American Communications Network, a network marketing company in California. He was friends with Santana from the track team, where they
of a champion. In many of the photographs, Hogue is wearing dark aviator-framed sunglasses, to make it harder for competitors to read him. Running, Mark explained, was a ticket out. It was a chance to follow in the footsteps of famous Kansas milers like Glenn Cunningham and Jim Ryun, and to win an athletic scholarship to college. Hogue excelled in school, where he did well in chemistry and mathematics, and read The Catcher in the Rye and Rabbit, Run. He liked to listen to his mother’s classical
spookier and more unsettling, and more universal. He turned his life into a story in order to escape from reality. “It’s why I love to read fiction,” she said. To become a fictional character is a scary, high-altitude thought, she agreed, especially for people who spend a lot of time inside their own heads. It would take an incredible amount of dedication and endurance to pull off a stunt like that. 1. The arrival of the drug dealers came after a coterie of West Coast hippies took over the town