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The Running Man (Bauer novel) facts for kids

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The Running Man
The Running Man cover.jpg
Author Michael Gerard Bauer
Country Australia
Language English
Genre Young adult fiction
Publisher Omnibus Books
Publication date
January 2004
Media type Print (Paperback)
Pages 280 pp
ISBN 1-86291-575-X
OCLC 60836784
LC Class PZ7.B32623 Ru 2004

The Running Man is a novel for young adults by Australian author Michael Gerard Bauer, published in 2004. It was the 2005 CBCA Book of the Year for Older Readers, and also won the Courier Mail 2005 People's Choice Award for Younger Readers.

Plot summary

Joseph Davidson was a quiet, self-conscious fourteen-year-old boy and a talented artist. His world changes, however, when he is asked to draw a portrait of his mysterious neighbour Tom Leyton who was a Vietnam veteran who for thirty years has lived alone with his sister Caroline, raising his silkworms and hiding from prying eyes. Because of this he is the subject of ugly gossip and rumour, much of it led by neighbour Mrs. Mossop, who views Leyton’s brief teaching career with suspicion. When Joseph finally meets his reclusive neighbour he discovers a cold, brooding man lost deep within his own cocoon of silence. He soon realises that in order to truly draw Tom Leyton, he must find the courage to unlock the man’s dark and perhaps dangerous secrets. But Joseph has his own secrets, including the pain of his damaged relationship with his absent father and his childhood fear of the Running Man – a local character whose wild appearance and strange manner of moving everywhere at a frantic pace terrified him when he was a small boy. These dreams suddenly return when Joseph is forced to face his fears and doubts regarding Tom Leyton. As Joseph moves deeper and deeper into his neighbour’s world he confronts not only Tom Leyton’s private hell, but also his own relationship with his father, and ultimately the dishevelled, lurching figure of the Running Man.

Awards and recognition

The Running Man was named Children's Book Council of Australia Book of the Year for Older Readers in 2005. It also won the Courier Mail 2006 People's Choice Award for Younger Readers, was listed as one of the top 10 books for young adults for 2004 in Magpies magazine and was short-listed for the 2006 NSW Premier's Award and Victorian Premier's Award and the 2006 South Australian Festival Awards for Literature.

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