Sunday, January 22, 2012

Reading Journal: King Leary, by Paul Quarrington (1987)

A Leacock Medal for Humour and Canada Reads winner, King Leary tells of an old-time (1910-1930, roughly) NHLer much more like King Clancy than King Lear. The plot revolves around the King's upcoming trip to film a ginger ale commercial in Toronto with Duane Killebrew, the record-shattering phenom clearly based on Wayne Gretzky. Overall, the book is audacious, and peppered with funny moments, but I struggled with the diction. Sometimes we were in the 1920s, and others, we were in Southern Gothic. And it took a long time for the main story to ramp up, about 100 pages - nearly half of the book. I was really hoping to laugh more, but with no chapters longer than about 10 pages, and because of the book's shifting chronology - sometimes in the present, sometimes in flashback, generally flipping one chapter at a time - it was hard to get deep enough into any given character or storyline for the humour or pathos of the situations to rise up. A great idea, but unfortunately, a book that I found too easy to read distractedly.

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