St. Dale

St. Dale

4.4 13
by Sharyn McCrumb
     
 

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The Dale Earnhardt Memorial Pilgrimage is the last trip Judge Bekasu Holifield would have chosen for her vacation. But this year it's her sister Justine's turn to make their plans, and soon Bekasu's boarding a silver cruise bus for a tour of Southern stock car speedways with Justine, their cousin Cayle, and a group of strangers--all of whose lives have somehow been… See more details below

Overview

The Dale Earnhardt Memorial Pilgrimage is the last trip Judge Bekasu Holifield would have chosen for her vacation. But this year it's her sister Justine's turn to make their plans, and soon Bekasu's boarding a silver cruise bus for a tour of Southern stock car speedways with Justine, their cousin Cayle, and a group of strangers--all of whose lives have somehow been touched by the legendary racer they never met. . .

For Shane McKee, the tour is a chance to get married at the speedway with his hero there in spirit. New York stockbroker Terence Palmer has made the trip to honor his only link with the father he never knew. Rev. Bill Knight, whose hobby is medieval pilgrimages, agrees to chaperone a dying child--and finds himself on a strangely familiar journey of faith and devotion.

Bekasu begins connecting with her fellow travelers in unexpected ways. But she's not the only one. As the bus rolls down an uncertain road, prayers will be answered, secrets will be revealed, bonds will be forged, and no one will leave this journey of self-discovery quite the same.

"One of McCrumb's finer achievements."
--Denver Post & Rocky Mountain News

"A wild ride! Sharyn McCrumb has done it again."
--Ward Burton, winner of the Daytona 500

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
A group of stock car racing fans embarks on a bus tour of Southern speedways-seven states in eight days-as a tribute to legendary NASCAR champion Dale Earnhardt in this meandering road novel modeled after the Canterbury Tales. Harley Claymore, a down-and-out race car driver who yearns to be reinstated, is a tour guide with an encyclopedic knowledge of spectacular races and risk-loving drivers. His "Where are you folks from?" introduces a diverse group of tour participants: Karen and Shane plan to be married at the first stop, where the bride's Wiccan mother will be waiting, and the groom will try to come to terms with his grief over the death of his hero, Dale, in the 2001 Daytona 500; longtime fan Jim, married 47 years to Arlene, hopes her incipient Alzheimer's won't spoil their enjoyment of the tour; Bill Knight, an Episcopalian priest in smalltown Canterbury, N.H., is chaperone for a dying orphan who was selected for a Last Wish trip; Nebraska resident Ray has proudly plowed his alfalfa field with a giant three (Dale's racing number). Veteran McCrumb provides a lively illustration of the cult of celebrity and offers instructive speculation about the human need for heroes. Minimal drama and suspense, however, will make this best suited to those who thrill at the sight of a memorial number three. Agent, Dominick Abel. (Feb. 18) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Wave the checkered flag, 'cause this one's headed for the victory lane! McCrumb (Ghost Riders) gambles on a Canterbury Tales-inspired novel about secular sainthood set in the world of NASCAR. Led by a washed-up stockcar driver, 13 pilgrims from diverse backgrounds set out in August 2002 on a Dale Earnhardt bus tour. In roughly a week's time, the group visits each major southeastern speedway, leaving memorial wreaths for "Number 3" en route. As the transforming trip progresses, the stories of this faithful group, Dale, other legendary drivers, and the history and lore of stock car racing are shared. Earnhardt, like Elvis and Princess Di, drew millions to him in life; his death in February 2001 only served to increase his magnetism as the embodiment of the American dream. McCrumb's latest should attract a large and varied following, just as NASCAR does, now one of the top three U.S. sports. [See also the Q&A with McCrumb, above left.-Ed.]-Rebecca Kelm, Steely Lib., Northern Kentucky Univ., Highland Heights Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
In a career marked by strange, wonderful stories (Ghost Riders, 2003, etc.), McCrumb offers her strangest yet: a modern-day Canterbury Tales with Dale Earnhardt replacing Thomas a Becket. The Number Three Pilgrimage, as Bailey Travel bills it, takes 13 pilgrims, all Harry Bailey could get racetrack tickets for, on a journey through the NASCAR strongholds of the Southeast-racetracks steeped in the lore of the Intimidator and his contemporaries-under the wing of former journeyman driver Harley Claymore. Harley hopes to use the tour to climb back into the circuit. Wall Street broker Terence Palmer is using his late father's tickets for himself and Sarah Nash, his dad's neighbor, to connect with the faraway parent he never knew. Shane McKee's taking advantage of the trip to get hitched under Dale's ghostly eye. Rev. Bill Knight is squiring ten-year-old Matthew Hinshaw, whose dying wish the trip is fulfilling. Judge Bekasu Holifield, her thrice-married sister Justine, and their cousin Cayle Warrenby are just out for a good time, though Cayle's convinced that Earnhardt came back from the grave to fix her ailing car on an isolated stretch of North Carolina roadway. In between pauses to lay memorial wreaths at Bristol, Martinsville, Mooresville, Rockingham, Lowe's, Talladega, Atlanta, Daytona and Darlington, they swap capsule summaries of their lives and brief testimonials to their hero. "I've always thought saints must be like that," Knight recalls a friend telling him, and Sarah adds, "Never knew the worth of him until he died." McCrumb has much to say about secular sainthood, but her fondness for aphorism and her split allegiance to her pilgrims and the object of their veneration work againstEarnhardt's, or even Chaucer's, momentum. Still, this book of moments is required reading for anybody who still mourns Number Three-or who wonders what the fuss is about.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780758267672
Publisher:
Kensington
Publication date:
03/01/2006
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
320
Sales rank:
240,384
File size:
1 MB

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