[personal finance Books] Ebook Cockfighter ✓ Charles Willeford

review Cockfighter

The sport is cockfighting and Frank Mansfield is the cockfighter a silent and fiercely contrary man whose obsession with winning will cost hi. 35 StarsThe interesting thing about this book is that it is essentially the classic underdog sports story that is popular in a lot of movies television and books but instead of focusing on a football player or boxer it s about a man who trains chickens to fight to the death It s told from the point of view of Frank Mansfield a respected cockfighter who at the books opening loses all of his money his car his mobile home and his ace cock Sandspur after being defeated by his rival Now with only a few bucks in his pocket and the clothes on his back we witness him doggedly work his way to the top in his pursuit of the Cockfighter of the Year AwardFrank isn t the best of guys and is for all intents and purposes an asshole But you feel his complete passion and dedication to not only the game but the art and craft of conditioning a fighting cock It s actually pretty inspiring but it s also pretty sad as he shuns and alienates many people who love him in his pursuit of his dream We even find him years into a vow of silence he s taken until he wins the award This level of passion is what drives the novel It s hard to see a guy so dedicated and not root for him to win Also the level of detail in depicting the world of Southern cockfighting is staggering You get the feeling that Willeford definitely has some first hand knowledgeThe story itself is actually pretty traditional and I could even see some of the cock training marathons in my head as I read and also hear the Rocky movie montage music playing in the background Maybe that was a little disappointing how traditional the plot is There s not really much else to the story which surprised me after reading both Pick up and Wild Wives from Willeford both of which felt anything but traditional And obviously there s a lot of violence involving chickens which is really hard to take at times so if you are really sensitive about that stuff you shouldn t read this one

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Cockfighter

M almost everything In this haunting ribald and percussively violent work the author of Hoke Moseley detective novels yields a floodlit visio. I wouldn t know how to classify this novel if anyone asked me to I don t think I could even summarize it in a way that would encourage others to read it There isn t much of a plot as there is an episodic account of a top tier cockfighter s journey in and around Florida in the early 70 s in his pursuit to ualify for a huge cockfighting tournament where he hopes to win the Cockfighter of the Year award You get to ride along as our hero deals with losing everything in the opening chapters to chasing down old debts running into old girlfriends running into new girlfriends and acuiring a new partner all in the space of a few months You also learn a lot about cockfighting along the way It s the kind of novel I really like because it s so different Had such a novel been written today by a flashier writer it would have been soaked in lurid hues of violence Not so in Willeford s novel

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N of the cockpits and criminal underbelly of the rural south First published in 1962 by Charles Willeford later made into a Roger Corman film. Books like Cockfighter remind me of how I came to love literature in the first place It offers a wonderful sense of being transported to an entirely different place seeing the world through the eyes of others and then ensuring that I m so captivated by a series of events that all I want to do in life at a given moment well most given moments is return to the next pageThe uote at the beginning of the book is from Ezra Pound What matters is not the idea a man holds but the depth at which he holds it There s plenty of depth in evidence here as protagonist Frank takes the reader into the life of a serious cockfighterFrank is such a passionate man that he s vowed unbeknownst to anyone else to remain silent until he gains the coveted mark of respect that is the silver medal that marks someone out as the cock handler of the year sniggers really don t fit on this occasion He explains himself a little here No one other than myself knew about my vow and I could have broken it at any time without losing face But I would know and I had to shave every day That last phrase is the kind of poetic turn that give the story an extra edge Willeford allows his character to tell his tale without relying on the mundaneWhen we meet Frank he s on the cusp of losing everything his money his last fighting bird his car and his trailer home on one fight with an old adversary It s a hugely dramatic opening and at risk of spoiling that drama look away now it ends up with Frank leaving the pit with only 10 a coop a few clothes and a guitarGiven a lift by an old friend who has been forced to retire he s offered the chance to buy the perfect bird Icarus for the hugely inflated sum of 500 Frank has a choice to promise to buy the bird or to give up the game and return home to marry his patient conservative fianc e Frank s passion means there s only one option and he sets off to find the money he needsWhat follows is the engrossing seuence of events that will lead up to Frank having the chance to make his personal dream come trueCockfighter reads like a novel from the depression era but is set in the 1960s In some ways it points to the hangover of values that are old fashioned in ways that might be seen as good and bad Frank has his own mixture of values and his own liberalish views are often contradicted by his animal self or by society Race and gender are particular areas of interest hereHe holds strong opinions on the nature of work and the illusions created by a capitalist society When looking for a job he comments The majority of the situations that were open in the agate columns were for salesmen And a man who can t talk can t sell anything Or on bigger dreams I liked the man for what he was and respected him for what he was trying to be But unlike me Doc lived with a dream that was practically unattainable All I wanted to be was the best cockfighter who had ever lived Doc who had already reached his late fifties wanted to be a big time capitalist and financier The series of adventures in the book are brilliantly told There s a wonderful use of dramatic tension which left me hungry to find out what would happen next When the final full stop was reached my appetite was entirely satisfied Here s a book the likes of which I wish I could write myself Given the talent on show and my own limitations that s very unlikely but just like Frank I don t see the harm in setting such a high goal Maybe I should take a vow of silence if nothing else I suspect my wife and colleagues would be happier that wayTremendous


10 thoughts on “Cockfighter

  1. says:

    ”If a man accepts life logically the unexpected is actually the expected” Willeford played a part in the 1974 movieFrank Mansfield makes an ill advised bet that will leave him in dire straits ”All I had left was a folded ten dollar bill in my watch pocket and one dead chicken” He bets everything including his truck

  2. says:

    I have absolutely no idea how this book and its movie came back to the surface of my mind I watched the film in 1975 I think and I'm

  3. says:

    35 StarsThe interesting thing about this book is that it is essentially the classic underdog sports story that is popular in a lot of movies television and books but instead of focusing on a football player or boxer it's about a man who trains chickens to fight to the death It's told from the point of view of Frank Mansfield a respected cockfighter who at the books opening loses all of his money his car his mobile home and his ace cock Sand

  4. says:

    Charles Willeford's villains are tough self assured and manly men who are convinced about their own uniueness They also have a sneering contempt

  5. says:

    This is hands down the best Brett Favre biography ever I was impressed by Charles Willeford's ability twenty two years after his death to explore the competitive milieu of peen pic texting There is a whole subculture surrounding this primeval sport in which grown men digitize their dangle not merely to woo the female of the species but to c

  6. says:

    I wouldn't know how to classify this novel if anyone asked me to I don't think I could even summarize it in a way that would encourage others to read it There isn't much of a plot as there is an episodic account of a top tier cockfighter's journey in and around Florida in the early 70's in his pursuit to ualify for a hug

  7. says:

    Fascinating and uniue pure Willeford with a hint of Jim Thompson about things How often can you tell people that you are reading a first person narrative of a voluntarily mute cockfighter? It's incredibly well written and never what I anticipated Frank Mansfield is an arsehole one hundred percent almost Reacher esue in his sad white man wish fulfilment nature always right always better than anyone else he comes in contact with and

  8. says:

    Books like Cockfighter remind me of how I came to love literature in the first place It offers a wonderful sense

  9. says:

    On pure techniue writing style and ability to portray a culture this book should get five stars But while the shop talk about cockfighting is amazingly detailed and impressive I could give a rat's ass about cockfighting I never would have read a book with that much shop talk about anything though admittedly I lo

  10. says:

    This sounds very Michael Vick ish but this book seems like a how to ghost written by someone I knew For reasons I cannot disclose here I will not comment further for fear of being ironically tarred and feathered and pelted b