Thursday, July 9, 2009

The Blacktop Champion of Ickey Honey

Robert T. Sorrells

Born September 15, 1932

University of Iowa, M.F.A., 1965.

Back in the South.

The twist in this story is first hinted at about ½ way through the reading. Knowing what is coming makes for a nice ending. I have no real interest in tennis, (part of my trouble with Infinite Jest) and if it were not for this project, I would have probably just read a couple of pages and skipped to the next story. Interestingly enough, the second reading of this story allowed me to tolerate it a bit more. There were some nice descriptions of scene and character that made a few paragraphs memorable.

I suppose that counts for something.

The spectators drinking beer and passing out from the heat/alcohol mixture on the tennis court bleachers stand out. I found it all too easy to almost taste the beer consumed by characters as they sat in the hot southern sun watching the tennis match.

The August heat in the South and how it ravaged the blacktop...I can defiantly relate to participating in athletic events during summer temperatures.

Research on the author provided several nice quotes from Sorrells.

“My father was a newspaperman, so reading the paper each morning is part of my life.”

"I guess my fiction is about the warts and wild hairs that seem to grow so naturally on the souls of the human critter. Some of my stuff seems to be about people who want--and sometimes desperately need--to love other people, but because they are awkward and don't know how, they end up hurting them (and themselves) instead. And I guess I write about memory, about people who don't want to turn loose of people--or give up on them, either. I guess I write about people who try to live their lives with some dignity and some joy. But they do stumble, they just do keep looking off somewhere else and tripping. My people are very precious to me, but they are a pretty badly bruised, stub-toed, skinned-nosed lot."

Score 7 out of 10

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