Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Winning the City Blog Tour: Excerpt Part 2


Hey Everyone,

Welcome to the Winning the City Blog Tour part 2! If you didn't see yesterday's blog post be sure to go back and read it then come back to read today's excerpt. Thanks for stopping by and I hope you enjoy!



Highly acclaimed Literary fiction author Theodore Weesner is back, following up his “modern American classic” (The Car Thief) with an exciting coming-of-age literary drama, set within the background of inner city youth basketball.

Winning the City Redux [ISBN: 978-1-938231-08-7; Literary Fiction; Paperback, US $12.95; ebook, US $5.99 March, 2013] is now re-imagined for a new generation of readers to discover. Written in Theodore Weesner’s signature gritty style, Redux again breaks through as an enduring piece of literature, even as its language and plot coalesce to form an enthralling page-turner.  Winning the City Redux entertains as it examines new dimensions of classism, corruption, youth angst and dangerous passion.

ABOUT THE BOOK

It’s Detroit, 1961. Fifteen-year-old Dale Wheeler, the son of an unemployed, alcoholic autoworker, has big dreams of leading his team to the City Basketball Championship.  But his dream is shattered when Dale—the co-captain and top point guard—is cut from the team to make way for the son of a big money team sponsor.

His life in a tailspin, Dale finds a helping hand in Miss Furbish, the beautiful homeroom teacher whose well-meaning kindness gradually builds into a potentially dangerous passion.  And in his lowest times, Dale gets a final shot at his dream:  A hardscrabble team of street-ballers that may have what it takes to win the City Championship.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Theodore Weesner, born in Flint, Michigan, is aptly described as a “Writers’ Writer” by the larger literary community.  His short works have been published in the New Yorker, Esquire, Saturday Evening Post, Atlantic Monthly and Best American Short Stories.  His novels, including The True Detective, Winning the City and Harbor Light, have been published to great critical acclaim in the New York Times, The Washington Post, Harper’s, The Boston Globe, USA Today, The Chicago Tribune, Boston Magazine and The Los Angeles Times to name a few.

Weesner is currently writing his memoir, two new novels, and an adaptation of his widely praised novel—retitled Winning the City Redux—also to be published by Astor + Blue Editions.  He lives and works in Portsmouth, NH.

EXCERPT

TWO

Coming in late from working second shift at Chevy Plant Ten--a weaving silhouette filling his bedroom doorway--Dale's father invites his sleepy-time son into the kitchen for a Coney Island dog.  Could anyone in the world more appreciate the taste of a Coney Island dog in the middle of the night than an ever-voracious fourteen-year-old playmaker, ball handler, first string guard?    
As on every other night, Dale practiced at the park until the lights went out…before shooting a few in the dark.  Dribbling home, into and out of illumination under corner streetlights, driving one telephone pole after another, pulling it back at the last minute (all but the dream), he showers with the landlady's hose, reviews his school notebook at the kitchen table, and hits the sack dreaming his dream...into which swamp there appears the purveyor of tender words and unconditional love in his life.  "Hey sleepy time pal...come have a Coney Island dog with your old dad."
Daylight is in Dale's eyes and it’s time to rise and shine...despite a spur picking at his mind.  Clomping into the bathroom to wash and brush, he detects "I Fall to Pieces" circling his father's phonograph in the living room and sinks within, as always, to the old cry of loss haunting their handful of rooms at an off-beat hour.  The message is familiar: His father is up yet and loaded, is emotional and sentimental, drunk and dangerous.  With no one else upon whom to visit his sad memory of Dale's runaway mother visiting his pickled brain, his father is waiting for him to appear.  In Dale's adolescent mind another lyric begins circling the breaking day: 'You get loaded...and I fall to pieces.'

#  #  #

He has no choice but to make his way into the kitchen that offers the only exit from their attic apartment...down the backside of the landlord's house to driveway, sidewalk, refreshing air.  He enters without making a sound.  His father stands there.  Head hanging, he’s leaning to the wall, his chin on his chest.  How long has he been on his feet?  His neck looks rubbery as his head lolls to one side, a grin comes on like a dim light as he says: "Don't I know you from somewhere?"
Dale opens the refrigerator, explores possibilities, ignores his father as he does at times like these.  Life with an alcoholic.  Life with Patsy Cline's heartbreak lining the air they breathe: 'You want me to forget...pretend we've never met.'
"You're the guy stood me up!" his father tells him.  "Thas who you are!  Bring home a treat for the only person in the world plays tunes on my weary old heart...get left standing at the counter."  'You walk by...and I fall to pieces...'
Dale remembers then and says: "I fell asleep!  That’s what I did!"
"Musta been dreaming about something a hell of a lot better looking than a Coney Island dog," his father tells him.
"Basketball," Dale confesses, deciding all at once to share his high hopes with his father.  "I was dreaming about basketball, winning the City…which is what we're gonna do!"
"Basketball?" his father asks.  "You say basketball?  Did I hear you say basketball?  Is that what I heard you say?"
"It's my big year at school!" Dale tells him.
"First time I knew anything would keep you from your favorite middle-of-the-night snack.  Surprised it wasn't something better looking than a fat old basketball."
"I'm the biggest at school this year!" Dale tells him.  "I've been working like a demon while everybody else has done practically nothing.  Been working all summer, all fall.  Gonna lead the way, make em pay!"  Dale did not add how proud he hoped to make his father, or how his dream included saving his father's life, too, to a modest degree.  Turning things around.  Leading them to the promised land.
'You tell me to find...someone else to love.
Someone who'll love me, too...the way you used to do.'
Continuing to grin, his father squints.  "Son...gotta tell ya.  Hope you dream other things, too.  Don't wanna put all your eggs in one basket."
Dale nods, indicates that he knows, is cool, isn't a fool...know all about eggs and baskets.  Doesn't he?





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