Lionel Walk, better known as Train, is a young black caddy at an elite Los Angeles golf course, where he comes to know a police detective he calls 'The Mile-Away Man'. Keeping his head down, he navigates his way between the careless brutality of the other caddies. Norah Still is unwillingly at the center of the criminal investigation, as the only survivor of an attempted boat hijacking gone violently wrong. Sergeant Miller Packard - Train's 'Mile-Away Man' - is in charge of the case and, as he quietly manages the crime scene, he finds himself drawn to the beautiful window. Miller's interest in Norah and Train soon moves beyond his professional obligations. He tries to shield Norah from the events on the boat, fighting her need to hold on to the past. He becomes a kind of manager as Train competes as a golfer on a lucrative underground gambling circuit. Miller's oddly personal concern binds the three of them together in an uneasy triangle. Pete Dexter's remarkable new novel brings to life the most violent and tender impulses of his characters as they struggle to come to terms with the difference between a gift and a passion, between their abilities and their desires.
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In the 1953 of Pete Dexter's 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, Packard's 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 men's clubs in a sport that can't 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 Train's 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 Packard's 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 O'KellleyFrom the Inside Flap:
Train is a 18-year-old black caddy at an exclusive L.A. country club. He is a golf prodigy, but the year is 1953 and there is no such thing as a black golf prodigy. Nevertheless, Train draws the interest of Miller Packard, a gambler whose smiling, distracted air earned him the nickname "the Mile Away Man." Packard's easy manner hides a proclivity for violence, and he remains an enigma to Train even months later when they are winning high stakes matches against hustlers throughout the country. Packard is also drawn to Norah Still, a beautiful woman scared in a hideous crime, a woman who finds Packard's tendency toward violence both alluring and frightening. In the ensuing triangular relationship kindness is never far from cruelty.
In Train, National Book Award-winning Pete Dexter creates a startling, irresistibly readable book that crackles with suspense and the live-wire voices of its characters.
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Book Description Random House, 2004. Book Condition: New. Open Market Ed. N/A. Ships from the UK. BRAND NEW. Bookseller Inventory # GRP70632919
Book Description Arrow Books Ltd, 2004. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 0099469316