Publisher: Signet Books
Released: July 1, 1979
On the first day of May, 100 teenage boys meet for a race known as "The Long Walk." If you break the rules, you get three warnings. If you exceed your limit, what happens is absolutely terrifying.
Like Rage, The Long Walk is a concept with a story written around it. A hundred boys are participants in a competition. The rules are simple: walk for as long as possible. The boy who keeps on walking for the longest wins. Don’t stop. If you stop you lose. And you really don’t want to lose.
That’s all I’m going to say about the story. The gradual reveal of the rest of the setting, and the circumstances surrounding it, it part of what makes this book what it is.
There is something about the characters always walking, never stopping, that really gives the story a very unique feel. It’s relentless and brutal. The characters literally can’t catch a break, they aren’t allowed to. In one way the situation they find themselves in is completely absurd, but at the same time the pain and mental impact which one would eventually incur through being forced to keep walking without any opportunity to rest is completely relatable. And the pacing of the story, pun entirely intentional, is spot on. There aren’t any huge developments or dramatic twists, there is just the participants, the situation they find themselves in, and how they relate to each other within those boundaries. It becomes incredibly intimate and human in a way that, for me, felt painfully real.
The Long Walk is an really well done, fascinating, story written around an interesting concept. It’s not a book I’d recommend without reservations. Because of it’s style alone I can see why some people might just not like it. But I think this book is exactly what it was meant to be, and I think it was perfectly executed. I really liked it.