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Again to Carthage

Again to Carthage

A Novel

  • reading group guide

Again to Carthage is the "breathtaking, pulse-quickening, stunning"
sequel to Once a Runner that "will have you standing up and cheering, and pulling on your running shoes" (Chicago Sun-Times). Originally self-published in 1978, Once a Runner became a cult classic, emerging after three decades to become a New York Times bestseller. Now, in Again to Carthage, hero Quenton Cassidy returns.

The former Olympian has become a successful attorney in south Florida, where his life centers on work, friends, skin diving, and boating trips to the Bahamas. But when he loses his best friend to the Vietnam War and two relatives to life’s vicissitudes, Cassidy realizes that an important part of his life was left unfinished. After reconnecting with his friend and former coach Bruce Denton, Cassidy returns to the world of competitive running in a desperate, all-out attempt to make one last Olympic team. Perfectly capturing the intensity, relentlessness, and occasional lunacy of a serious runner’s life, Again to Carthage is a must-read for runners—and athletes—of all ages, and a novel that will thrill any lover of fiction.
Choose a format:
  • Scribner | 
  • 384 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781439192498 | 
  • September 2010
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Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for Again to Carthage includes an introduction, discussion questions, and ideas for enhancing your book club. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.

INTRODUCTION

Quenton Cassidy returns in John Parker’s Again to Carthage, the sequel to Once a Runner. Having won a silver medal at the Olympics, Quenton attempts to settle into a normal life: attending law school and then working for a firm, living the good life in Florida with friends, running only occasionally. But there is something missing, and he knows it. After the deaths of two men close to him leave him shaken, Quenton decides that with the help of friend and coach Bruce Denton, he will train for the Olympics again, but this time for the marathon. As he trains and pushes himself to the brinks of human endurance, Quenton struggles to decide who he is and what his life can and should be.

QUESTIONS AND TOPICS FOR DISCUSSION

1. What do you believe is the primary motivation for Quenton’s decision to try for another Olympic medal: Coming in second? Dissatisfaction and boredom with everyday life? Depression? Something else?

2. Quenton takes a dim view of post-Olympic life for medalists. Think about athletes you watched place i see more

About the Author

John L. Parker Jr.
Photo Credit: Jack Gescheidt

John L. Parker Jr.

John L. Parker, Jr. has written for Outside, Runner’s World, and numerous other publications. A graduate of the University of Florida’s College of Journalism as well as its College of Law, Parker has been a practicing attorney, a newspaper reporter and columnist, a speechwriter for then Governor Bob Graham, and editorial director of Running Times magazine. He lives in Gainesville, Florida and Bar Harbor, Maine.

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