THE BLACKTOP CHAMPION OF ICKEY HONEY by Robert T. Sorrells

THE BLACKTOP CHAMPION OF ICKEY HONEY

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

And Other Stories Stories, written over two decades, that are either first-rate dramas centered, as often as not, on athletes; or less accomplished light comedies that strain too much for their effects. In both types, Sorrells is a master of the play-by-play, whether he's describing a tennis match (the title story), a ball game (""Rookie,"" ""The Phone Call""), an attempted rescue from drowning (""Drowning""), or a game of solitaire (""The All-Time Master Grand-Master of Solitaire""). Of the more serious stories, ""Lovers"" powerfully evokes a frightening erotic encounter between Robbie, a football player on his ritual day of senior freedom, and Ressie, the cook at his academy whose dormant sexuality surfaces with bittersweet results. ""Drowning"" is a trenchant meditation on mortality from the point of view of a teacher who failed to save a black athlete from drowning. ""The Phone Call,"" ostensibly about Ferris, a semipro ballplayer who forbids his wife Sharon to call her half-sister Sarah Jane, is actually a long meditation on a failed marriage and a man forever repressed by his father's dying words. Of the light pieces, the title story is most successful: in a small town at the end of the world, Lodi Poidle, the county-agent narrator, helps tennis player Hoke Warble prepare for a highly promoted grudge match with blueblood Newton Slock; the whole affair turns out to be a scam to attract visitors to the region. Other stories--like ""Rookie,"" ""The Man Who Walked Pigeons,"" and ""The All-Time Master Grand-Master of Solitaire,""--are amusing in places but too easy to see through. All in all, then, an uneven but well-written collection with several memorable stories, particularly interesting in its literary treatment of athletes.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1988
ISBN: 0595515371
Publisher: Univ. of Arkansas Press