Tom, a young man struggling to forge some sense from his experiences, employs the services of an older woman as his running coach. A former psychoanalyst, Coach Fitz’s methods combine fitness training with an intense curiosity about the spirit of the places through which they travel. Enthusiastic and perceptive yet plagued by self-consciousness, Tom finds himself at once fascinated and troubled by his mentor’s peculiar ideas.
As they follow an eccentric course across parklands, streets and beaches, a conversation unfolds about the athletic body, architectural style and especially the emergence from adolescence into adulthood. But when his relationship with Coach Fitz breaks down, Tom finds himself dogged by past failures and obsessions, and sets out in search of a student of his own, in an attempt to orchestrate an ideal expression of his emotional, athletic and intellectual urges.
Weaving earnest, comic and dreamlike voices, Coach Fitz finds marvels in unlikely places: in outdoor gyms, picnic spots and water towers; in internet cafés, hotel restaurants and bottle shops; in goat’s cheese, olive oil and sourdough bread; and via the body in motion, in its squats and stretches, burpees and breath friends, run-ups, chin-ups, push-ups, sit-ups, warm-ups and cool-downs.
Playful, philosophical and strangely captivating, Tom Lee’s first novel speaks to the contemporary fixation on self-fashioning and wellness, conjuring an immersive world of intimacy, awkwardness and elation.
pp : 256
Published : August 2018