Coach Fitz by Tom Lee
PUBLISHED BY GIRAMONDO PUBLISHING
REVIEW BY CALLIE STEVEN
This is a different sort of read. It’s the story of a young man named Tom, like the author, who is searching for meaning and purpose in his life after a disastrous relationship that left him feeling a failure.
But it’s also about running, how we move through a landscape, and the way both the built and natural environments affect us. It ruminates on the connection between place, mood and even identity. Interestingly, it is also the mystery of Coach Fitz. Who is she? Is she a fraud, or something of a guru?
Although it starts slow, this novel really gets under your skin. Littered with specific place names in Sydney, like Centennial Park, rooted in the here and now, you feel like you could follow the path of Tom and Coach’s training runs. In fact, it made me want to go for a run myself! At times the language feels bloated and almost academic, but it does allow for insight into these two fascinating characters, and it is their interchange, their quest to ‘find themselves’ (or improve themselves) that compels that narrative.
Conversely, the language can also be very poetic about daily life and the environment. This leads to all sorts of philosophical ideas about authenticity, questions about what it is to be a coach, to teach and inspire, and to build someone towards a goal. This second part of the book really takes shape when Tom takes on his own student to coach.
The focus of the book throughout is more on the training, the effort and what we learn about ourselves while we do it, rather than the race itself. But it’s the journey in life that’s important, not the destination, and this book helps to remind us of that.
Find this novel in store at Planet Books. Ask the friendly staff for guidance too, and they’ll be more than happy to order you in a copy if it’s already sold out.