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King Leary [Paperback]

Paul Quarrington
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 19.95
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Book Description

Nov. 28 2007
Selected as the 2008 CBC Canada Reads Winner!

"A dazzling display of fictional footwork… The author has not written just another hockey novel; he has turned hockey in a metaphor for magic." Maclean's

Percival Leary was once the King of the Ice, one of hockey's greatest heroes. Now, in the South Grouse Nursing Home, where he shares a room with Edmund "Blue" Hermann, the antagonistic and alcoholic reporter who once chronicled his career, Leary looks back on his tumultuous life and times: his days at the boys' reformatory when he burned down a house; the four mad monks who first taught him to play hockey; and the time he executed the perfect "St. Louis Whirlygig" to score the winning goal in the 1919 Stanley Cup final.

Now all but forgotten, Leary is only a legend in his own mind until a high-powered advertising agency decides to feature him in a series of ginger ale commercials. With his male nurse, his son, and the irrepressible Blue, Leary sets off for Toronto on one last adventure as he revisits the scenes of his glorious life as King of the Ice.

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Quarrington is the Canadian author of the well-received Life of Hope and Home Game. His success in this entertaining fourth novel is not only creating a memorable character in Canadiens' hockey champion Patrick Leary, "King of the Ice" for most of the first half of the 20th century, but also surrounding him with equally memorable companions. There's Clay Clinton, a likable though Machiavellian con artist-cum-hockey manager, and Leary's best friend; gormless Clifford, King's obese, amiable son, who seems to have inherited some of his father's inability to see reality; Manny Oz, King's challenger for the crown who died ignominiously and alone in a hotel room; Blue Hermann, King's roommate in the nursing home, ace reporter and alcoholic; and the hockey-playing monks of Bowmanville Reformatory, where Leary's career begins. In an odyssey that takes the King from past to present, and from Bywater to Toronto to make a ginger ale "advert," the ghosts and half-truths of Leary's life are satisfyingly resolved.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


“A type of literary hat trick...most engaging…. [Quarrington’s] colourful, inventive language is addictive.” The Globe and Mail

“An extraordinary writer with a rare gift.” Timothy Findley

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the funniest books you will ever read Feb. 18 2000
King Leary is an old man now, but in his heydey he was the king of the ice, leaving opponents clutching at air as he executed the famous St Louis Whirligig. He is tracked down by an androgyous advertising company hack to promote a brand of ginger ale, and together they commence a laughter-inducing trip to the big city to make ads.
This book will have you holding your stomach and wiping your eyes. It would be worth the read just to find out the real meaning of the King's Indian nickname, Loofweda, which he translates as "skates like the wind".
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4.0 out of 5 stars Keep Cool with this Fun Summer Read July 17 2014
By Tylr01
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Lighter than Nureyev or a Whirlygig, this novel(la?) floats through its time period - the early 1900's - with authenticity and humour to spare, no mean feat considering the subject is hockey and the cast of characters includes half the Hall of Fame. The protagonist is an endearing combination of Don Cherry, Howie Meeker and his namesake, 'King' Clancy and yet original. The story flashes from a contemporary nursing home and trip to Toronto, to both the trials and triumphs of yesteryear where it stays for the most part until near the end when the ghosts of the past catch up to our hero, 'King' and ends with a final tragi-comedic flourish.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Canadian Humour about a Canadian sport Dec 9 1999
King Leary is a very funny novel. I really enjoyed this book because its setting is right around where I live. The characters in this novel seemed real and alive. Paul Quarrington is an author who really gets involved in his work. This novel is a great recommendation to anyone who really enjoy's a good Canadian laugh!
Happy Reading and enjoy!
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