King Leary


King Leary

Author: Paul Quarrington

Published: 1987

Genre: Humour

About King Leary: Percival "King" Leary, former hockey superstar, has accepted an offer to appear in a television ad for ginger ale. So he's off to Toronto with his roommate, a nurse from the South Grouse Nursing Home, and his memories.

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Review of King Leary

I can't remember lacing on blades for the first time. Likewise with hockey. I've got no idea when I first heard of, saw, or played the game of hockey. Some years back, Clay Clinton and I were invited to one of those hockey schools for a seminar. It couldn't have been that long back, come to think, because what we were discussing was something like The Development of Hockey in North America, which means we were trying to figure out a way of beating the Russians. So there was me there, and Clay (who was drunk much of the weekend, and occupied with the pursuit of somebody's floozy wife), and this young coach from Minnesota.

And the lad from Minn. starts talking about the origins of hockey. He went on and on about soccer and lacrosse, English foot soldiers playing baggataway with the Indians, some Scandinavian entertainment called bandy. I bit my tongue, but the truth of the matter is, I never knew that hockey originated. I figured it was just always there, like the moon.

...from page 7-8

I didn't like this book at all at the beginning. The dialogue, both external and internal, annoyed me and I thought Leary was a conceited blowhard. But I got used to the language and somewhere along the way I started to actually care about the old fool. I still thought he was a conceited blowhard but I had grown fond of him.

Some things were funny but I think I only laughed out loud once or twice. And I had to constantly remind myself that present-day Leary was 80 years old because he didn't seem like it. I thought the hockey-loving monks were a nice touch though and I liked Manfred a lot.

Given how much I disliked the book at the beginning, I was surprised by how much I cared at the end and how affected I was. It won't be my pick to win Canada Reads but I don't want to see it voted off first either.

Reviewed by Lynn Bornath, February 2008.

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More Reviews

Pooker3, 8 January 2008
“Lewd and bawdy, thoughtful and heartwarming.”
Remi, Gunner's Miscellany, 17 February 2008
“...for a funny book, it wound up packing a punch that was both unfunny and surprisingly effective.”
Steve Zipp, 18 July 2008
“One of the best things about the book are the magical hockey-playing monks...”
John Mutford, The Book Mine Set, 26 October 2008
“The puck is dropped and Quarrington makes an easy steal with the infectious voice of title character King Leary.”
JK, The Keepin' It Real Book Club, 24 January 2009
“ seemed like a watered down Barney's Version to me...”


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Added 05 February 2008.
Updated 23 August 2013.