THE CRUEL COCKS by Garland Roark

THE CRUEL COCKS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Wholly unexpected from Garland Roark, this short novel built around cock fighting, for his earlier books have been long, full fashioned tales of the sea, of derring do with a thin semblance of historical or period backing. Now he gives us an impassioned tale of a Cajun lad, son of a shiftless but charming father, and of how he became a widely known ""cocker"" (conditioner of gamecocks) through his loving handling of Bailey, the cock picked up for dead from a dungpils. One learns more of the facts behind this illegal sport of thousands in the South than one dreamed there was to know. Even the arguments pro and con are fully aired, as young David finds his conscience given voice in the lovable and wise priest of the bayou area in Louisiana where he lives. Jean, his father, is supposedly a shrimper, but any bypath looks more appealing to him than a regular job, any gamble is a better gamble than working, and David has to be head of the family. That he is only briefly troubled by his father's amorality, his inclination to cheat, seems a bit at variance with his own high ideals. His chief concern is lest his father marries again- and he will make almost any deal to prevent it. But these are peripheral factors; the minutiae of cock fighting, the bouts, the major contests, form the chief factors. And it takes the gallant death of his beloved Bailey to snap David out of his absorption. Not for all tastes.

Pub Date: April 4th, 1957
Publisher: Doubleday