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Train Pete Dexter

Train

Pete Dexter

Published September 2nd 2003
ISBN : 9780641924576
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 About the Book 

In the 1953 of Pete Dexters Train, Miller Packard is a sergeant in the San Diego police department who has little time for hypocrisy or racism. He lives life as a dare, fearless and bemused, his wife observing that he was drawn to movement and friction, to chance- he had to have something in play. He is also a golfer, though not a great one. Over a game with a fat cheater named Pinky, Packards world collides with the troubled life of Lionel Train Walk, a young African-American caddy at Brookline Country Club. Train is a virtuoso golfer but is doomed to tote old mens clubs in a sport that cant find a place for a young black athlete. Train also holds a secret, a murder that has never been reported but haunts his every step. In the volatile world of 1950s racial politics, bonds of friendship that cross the color line are doomed, and Packard and Train cruise towards inevitable conflagration. Dexter explores racism with a cold eye in Train--rarely politically correct and always unafraid to find pettiness in the lives of liberal whites, beatniks, philanthropists, and powerful African-Americans. Outside of the purity of Trains golf swing, Dexter finds little to celebrate in the troubled times, and every page offers the possibility of new catastrophe. Occasionally, with this abundance of disaster, Dexter seems to lose track, and a few of his subplots (like the story of a hideously burned reporter who tries to uncover the truth behind the killings on a sailboat) never quite get resolved. Yet, Train is not a bleak novel, and Packards detachment lends the book an air of dark comedy. When Dexter writes, Packard was amused with the world at large he could just as well be writing about himself: curious, entertained, fascinated, but never unsettled by the grotesquery of human existence. --Patrick OKellley