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"Train" by Pete Dexter

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Packard, a war hero returning from the Pacific Theater, joins the police force in Southern California. It seems, though, he has returned in a kind of personal fog, or limbo. Outward signs are that he's only interested in sensations, wants to test various things to see if he can feel an emotion. He golfs with some lowlifes, but meets a black caddy named Lionel - called "Train" - who, it turns out, is also a brilliant golfer.
This is a book about racial prejudice and segregation in Southern California after the War. The blurb on the back cover is true: Pete Dexter's writing cuts to the bone. There are no holds barred here. Packard takes justice into his own hands - good thing too, because it's one of the few areas where he can exercise reliable judgment. Packard, called "Miles Away Man" by Train, is finally snapped back into the human race when after a tumultuous argument with his wife, she shoots his lower leg with a shotgun, after which he finally shows emotion and breaks down into tears.

"Train" is hard-edged, honest, and deft at the same time. Dexter is a virtuoso. Pick this up and read it - I assure you you won't regret it.
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