A LION'S SHARE by Mark Steadman


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The particularly American theme of the too-early-success programmed for certain failure remains an attractive and intriguing one. The problem is many-sided and there always seems room for still another speculation. But Steadman has seized on this theme and made a shambles of it in this exasperating mixture of buffoonery and maudlin sentimentality. His ""hero"" is a young Irishman from Savannah, Georgia, named Jack Curran who leads his highschool football team (previously a ridiculous collection of total incompetents) through a victorious season in the year 1947. He is offered a football scholarship to Georgia Tech which he leaves after seven months, having flunked all his subjects. He returns home, marries his highschool sweetheart whom he has enshrined as the Virgin Mary. Naturally the marriage goes sour. He becomes an alcoholic, drops out of circulation, tries a comeback as a wrestler, takes up a semi-occupation as a fireman, makes a few trips to the lighthouse where he and his fireman father (now usually found also in his cups) used to look across the ocean to the dream of Galway Bay. Finally, at the age of 26 Jack Curran throws his life away in a fire. He's mourned as though he were the equivalent of Frank Leahy or even Knute Rockne himself--the radio playing Irish ballads, ""He was the best there was,"" ""an authentic and actual hero."" Except for the fact that his team did call themselves ""The Fighting Irish"" there's nothing here to justify the claims. Jack Curran may not have had the slightest conception of himself; his author should have had a clue or two.

Pub Date: Jan. 12th, 1975
Publisher: Holt, Rinehart & Winston