Hockey Sur Glace: Stories

Hockey Sur Glace: Stories

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by Peter LaSalle

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Literary short stories on the place of ice hockey in our lives and imaginations.


Literary short stories on the place of ice hockey in our lives and imaginations.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Ice hockey is the unifying element that ties together the seven stories and four poems in this poignantly written but thematically thin collection from LaSalle (Strange Sunlight; The Graves of Famous Writers). Most of the stories are set in New England, and hockey serves variously as metaphor, subject and narrative vehicle. "Hockey Angels," for instance, is a coming-of-age tale filtered through pickup games and early schoolboy competition, while "Wellesley College for Women, 1969" offers a more romantic meditation from a Harvard undergrad narrator. "Le Rocket Ngre" deals with the rise and fall of a black star, a relative rarity in the sport, while "The Injury" takes an oblique stream-of-consciousness approach to hockey's unique dangers. The best yarn in the collection is "Additional Considerations," which posits the existence of a "sleep shot" that represents the narrator's desire to interject those critical statements and observations that often go unsaid in important relationships. It's refreshing to see a literary approach taken to a game that rarely receives much consideration in fiction. If much of the prose is far too mannered and elegiac, that's a common enough flaw in writing that uses a particular sport as a prism through which to view the passage of time. Readers familiar with baseball-inspired literature and its accompanying paeans to spring will be pleasantly jarred by the way LaSalle evokes winter as the trigger for intense memory and feeling.
Library Journal
LaSalle (The Graves of Famous Writers, 1980), whose work has appeared in such respected collections as Best American Short Stories, groups this compendium of short stories and poems around an unlikely theme: ice hockey. In the poignant "Hockey Angels," a teenager learns about faith thanks to a hockey-playing priest and a newspaper clipping about a young skater who survived a plunge through the ice of a local pond. "Le Rocket Ngre" tells of a black hockey player who is rumored to be the second coming of the legendary Maurice "Rocket" Richard, a passionate, lightning-fast skater who played for the Montreal Canadiens. The three remaining tales are uniformly excellent, although the poems are not as successful and seem a bit out of place here. All in all, this will make a fine addition to fiction as well as sports collections.Mark Annichiarico, "Library Journal"
Kirkus Reviews
Hockey fiction? LaSalle ventures onto relatively virgin ice with this second collection (The Graves of Famous Writers, 1980, not reviewed).

The seven stories and four poems here are united by their concern—sometimes rather oblique—with the sport of ice hockey, not previously associated with great literature. Most of the pieces are about young men striving to escape from the working-class New England of their fathers, the New England of dying milltowns and fading Catholic boys' schools. A Providence-based educational institution serves as a common background in several of the tales, recalled by three generations of hockey-loving kids. The best of them—"Le Rocket Nègre," about a black hockey phenom whose career is cut short by a combination of racism and bad timing; "Hockey Angels," a fragile concoction uniting a dimly remembered newspaper clipping and an adolescent epiphany; and "Hockey," a tale of middle-aged craziness—manage to convey the pangs of outgrowing one's dreams and of surrendering to the loss of physical powers. Indeed, dreams figure prominently throughout the collection, both the sleeping and waking variety, and LaSalle is never more eloquent than when wrapping his elegantly poetic prose around them. (At the same time, the four poems included suggest that his poetic effects work best in his prose.) Several of the stories, particularly "Additional Consideration," a rumination on the difficulties of expressing deep feeling, couched too coyly in the form of an academic paper on hockey, and "The Injury," a breathless stream-of-consciousness monologue, read like creative-writing class assignments.

LaSalle has found a subject and setting worth further exploration, and he clearly has the potential to do something substantial with it in the future.

Product Details

Breakaway Books
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Product dimensions:
5.00(w) x 7.50(h) x 0.50(d)

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Hockey Sur Glace: Stories 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
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