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Caveman Politics
     

Caveman Politics

by Jay Atkinson
 

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A rugby novel and a thriller, Caveman Politics is a tragicomic look at the lowdown politics of a small Florida town. Joe Dolan is a reporter who plays rugby in his spare time, and hangs out with the strangest athletes ever to grace the pages of a novel. When their black teammate is accused of raping a white woman, all hell breaks loose. The D.A. is out for his head

Overview

A rugby novel and a thriller, Caveman Politics is a tragicomic look at the lowdown politics of a small Florida town. Joe Dolan is a reporter who plays rugby in his spare time, and hangs out with the strangest athletes ever to grace the pages of a novel. When their black teammate is accused of raping a white woman, all hell breaks loose. The D.A. is out for his head, and Joe and a few rugby players set out on a quest to exonerate him. Along the way they encounter an Elvis impersonator who may truly be the King himself, and a life insurance salesman with a death wish. The first novel from Jay Atkinson, whose Ice Time has enjoyed great success.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The blind dedication of an unforgettable cadre of ragtag, itinerant Cocoa Beach, Fla., jocks is transformed into a transcendent metaphor for life in this moving first novel. Convinced that his black teammate, Mike Melendez, a talented 27-year-old Trinidadian art student, has been falsely accused of raping the white girlfriend of a redneck biker, amateur rugby star Joe Dolan, a reporter for the Cocoa Beach Post-Gazette, seeks justice. Joe gets ensnarled with a slimy DA who is manipulating the judicial system for political gain. While vindicating Melendez, noble Joe also rescues a similarly innocent victim of the DA's plottings, a vagabond singer who believes he's Elvis. Unable to free himself from his internal demons, however, Joe hides behind his obsession with winning the Florida rugby championship and his impressive list of sexual conquests, avoiding his own bigotry and his considerable gifts as a writer. Ultimately, he loses a relationship with a woman he truly loves. Atkinson builds real suspense around Joe's inability to let go of his childhood pain and make a serious commitment. As probing as it is engaging, this tale keeps readers hoping that Joe can one day grow beyond the prison of his own Peter Pan slogan, "The horror of nonexistence meant nothing when you were dancing under the Florida sun." (Apr.)
Library Journal
This rewarding first novel is the story of a reluctant hero who may have taken longer than most to grow up but is finally getting there. Reporter Joe Dodge spends his free time playing rugby, boozing with teammates, and pursuing women. "Not giving a shit is my biggest asset," he jokes (but it isn't a joke). When a black teammate, Mike Melendez, is charged with raping a white woman, no one much cares. The police and public are content to let him rot in prison. Though Joe hasn't been friendly with Mike off the playing field, he sets out to help him. Other plot lines weave around this central core, e.g., Joe's growth as a reporter and his discovery of a performer who not only looks and sounds like Elvis but believes he is Elvis. All in all, Atkinson has written a jauntily unpretentious, solidly plotted book that displays good insights into character. Joe is a hero you can care about, and he is surrounded by a cast of often zany but always interesting characters. Highly recommended.-David Keymer, California State Univ., Stanislaus
book review
“A wild ride through rugby’s savage landscape. . . . This novel is highly recommended for any sentient jocks out there who have ever struggled for perfection in their sport or meaning in their lives.”
Harry Crews
“Gutty, powerfully written — from start to finish, my kind of novel.”

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781891369339
Publisher:
Breakaway Books
Publication date:
10/01/2002
Pages:
304
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.70(d)

Meet the Author

Jay Atkinson is a novelist, short story writer, essayist, critic, investigative journalist, and itinerant amateur athlete from Methuen, Mass. He is the author of two novels, a story collection, and three narrative nonfiction books. His nonfiction book, ICE TIME, was a Publisher’s Weekly notable book of the year in 2001, and LEGENDS OF WINTER HILL was on the Boston Globe bestseller list for several weeks in 2005. Atkinson’s narrative nonfiction has appeared in the New York Times, Men’s Health, Boston Globe and many other publications. A former two sport college athlete, Atkinson has competed in rugby for three decades and continues to play in exotic locales with the Vandals Rugby Club out of Los Angeles. He teaches journalism at Boston University.

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