by Pete Dexter
Category: Fiction / General
280 pages; ISBN: 0385505914
Rating: 9/10 (Ratings explained)
Reviewer: Harriet Klausner
In 1953, eighteen year old black caddy Lionel “Train” Walk works at the exclusive Brookline course in Los Angeles. The membership is quite homogenous and consists of racists, elitists and sexists who like the staff and the other caddies treat Train. with contempt bordering on the wrong side of abuse except police sergeant Miller Packard. Train realizes from the first hole that Packard is the “Mile Away Man” because he has a fair game, but Miller has no concentration for the sport. However, Miller pays better attention than anyone realizes as he concludes that his caddy has real skills for the sport.
Train is fired from Brookline, but scores a job as a groundskeeper at dilapidated Paradise Developments. He helps renovate the course, but loses his position due to a tragic accident. Packard wants to help the lad so he turns Train into a golf hustler. As they travel the country together, they win thousands on the youngster’s skills, but soon Train will learn once again the violent underbelly of the leisure game he plays.
Perhaps no author can display the darkest side of life as easily as award winning Pete Dexter can. TRAIN is a fast-paced eighteen holes starring strong characters trying to do the right thing, but the message is even charity can turn abusive. The story line is a warning that a caring method with a seemingly constructive output does not necessarily mean a positive outcome. Readers will appreciate this deep dark character study, but be warned that Mr. Dexter will escort you to the most profound, deepest, but darkest corner of the soul.
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