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3.72 of 5 stars 3.72  ·  rating details  ·  839 ratings  ·  84 reviews
Los Angeles, 1953. Lionel Walk is a young black caddy at Brookline, the oldest, most exclusive country club in the city, where he is known by the nickname “Train.” A troubled, keenly intelligent kid with no particular interest in his own prodigious talent for the game, he keeps his head down and his mouth shut as he navigates his way between the careless hostility of his “ ...more
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published October 7th 2003 by Doubleday (first published October 7th 2000)
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Best Golf Novels
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Community Reviews

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Dexter is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors. His spare and menacing style, quirky characters, bizarre humor, and capturing of place are all on display here. This book involves racism, golf, a caddie named “Train”, a police Sergeant obsessed with control, failed land deals, a rich widow(and survivor of a terrifying boat hijacking), an ex-boxer “Plural”(a great Dexter creation), some creepy criminals and psychopaths, and lots of random violence in 1950’s L.A. This has been described as D ...more
I liked this book because it has great characters and allows them to build little worlds for themselves. In addition to the main character, Train, there is a hard-boiled L.A. police Sergeant that reminds me of Don Draper. It is a very dark book. Pete Dexter must live in some kind of hell-world if he can imagine people thinking and acting this way well enough to make it come alive like this in a novel. Thank God he can work it out by sharing it with the world. Like Paris Trout, this book is about ...more
Jeff Fargus
Better and more layered than I expected. When I read the jacket, I pictured what the book would be about, and that would've made a decent story, too. But Dexter took it places I never expected. Made me want to read more Dexter.
I've read a lot of this author's work and enjoy it all. Pete Dexter has a dark sense of humor and an insight into the small minded ways of modern America. This novel, like other Dexter work, explores many issues including racism, sexuality, and greed. Pete is a master of dialogue, particularly idiomatic English as it is spoken by small town Southerners, African-Americans, and criminal types. His characters are well drawn archetypes whose best intentions are generally foiled by tragic circumstanc ...more
Simultaneously very dark and semi-sweet. This is a view of the deeply ingrained and bewildering racism of 1953, and a picture of how love and pain always go hand-in-hand. The violence is cold, brutal and astonishingly described. The language shifts with each change of perspective making the characters accessible and intimate, and characters as smart and talented and simple and memorable as Train don't come along often. I don't even like golf, but was quite smitten with the sport when Train was s ...more
Linda Campbell Franklin
There are only three books, well, maybe five, that I've read in the last 20 years that I can truly say "I wish I'd written that" [or "could write like that"?] They are TRAIN by Pete Dexter; RAGTIME, by Doctorow; PERFUME, by Patrick Suskind; AS I LAY DYING, by Faulkner; and _______________ by ______________. Absolutely terrific book, the main character, Lionel Walk, known as "Train" is a young black boy who caddies at an exclusive golf course. I have NO interest in golf, but no matter. It's all a ...more
his was a freebie from the YMCA's take one/leave one table. I picked it up because I liked the cover image and the back page blurb that talks about a black golf prodigy in the early 50's, who drew the attention of a gambler who takes him to high-stakes matches around the country. I thought of Tin Cup, and the Hustler and other sports gambling/down on his luck kid makes good stories, and this intriqued me.

But it really wasn't that at all and on balance, that's a good thing. Its really an LA Noir
I couldn't avert my eyes. Just finished reading this book, left only with impressions at this point instead of conclusions. Some folks are helpless before forces beyond their control. Other folks happen to other people, are the force.

Perhaps it is about attention paid. The mysterious Packard with his indecipherable amusements and past times does not pay enough attention to the woman he takes up with. Hard-working Train is victimized by his employers, his family, yet assumes responsibility for a
Ambientato negli anni 50, in pieno apertheid, come riporta la quarta di copertina è un "romanzo insieme cupo e luminoso", bianco e nero.
Nella prima parte l'autore mi ha dato l'impressione di sovraccaricare i protagonisti di episodi, come se non sapesse su quale binario procedere, risultando a tratti un po' falso. Poi una volta deciso quale percorso seguire, il libro scorre molto bene fino alla fine. Ho trovato fantastico il personaggio di Plural, con le sue certezze, le sue debolezze.
Un romanzo
Jim Greer
It's like James Ellroy wrote a book about golf course maintenance. Very good and very dark.
Charles Whitcomb
Genius! I don't even like golf, but this masterpiece by Pete Dexter brings together all the elements of fatal fate from his other books such as Deadwood and The Paperboy and sets it up in 1950's LA. This one is right up there with my other LA Fave American Tabloid.
Dexter won einde jaren tachtig de begeerde National Book Award voor Paris Trout, schreef een roman genaamd Deadwood (maar was niet betrokken bij de opnames van de gelijknamige serie) en begon met het schrijven van een fictie nadat een van zijn columns een bende dronken baseballfans ertoe had aangezet om hem halfdood te slaan. Het mag dan niet verwonderen dat geweld in roman nummer zes, Train (2003), nog steeds een cruciale rol blijft spelen. Dexter hanteert een stijl en gebruikt een setting die ...more
Paul McKee
What would have happened if Tiger Woods had lived 60 years earlier? Lionel "Train" Walk scrapes by as a caddie in 1950's southern California country club. He has a natural athletic ability for the game and a keen sense of observation. He is clearly very intelligent. His part of the story is written with a slight Ebonics twinge which is weird given that the narrative is third person.
Miller Packard, an independently wealthy, athletic, war hero, who kind of works for the police is a risk taker a
This book is not for everyone; for me it was sad and depressing with few likable characters and little resolution at the end. However, there was also very good writing, one very interesting -- even heroic -- character in Train, and insight and context into racism in the 1950's. Train is a Negro caddy at a white country club in LA in the 1950's. Miller Packard, a rich man who also works as a sheriff's deputy encounters Train a couple of times at the golf course and then later in the book. Packard ...more
Very dark book just the way I like it. Pete Dexter is becoming one of my favorite authors. Every character in the book is interesting and I would read a book about each of them. I thought Train was a strong young man and was glad the story didn't drift off into a "white man saves black boy" kind of story. I didn't care too much for the ending but mostly because I wanted to read more.
un bel noir (che non è il mio genere) ben scritto e non scontato. Caratteri plausibili, una certa forza. Verso la fine qualche lungaggine che si riscatta in un finale non del tutto prevedibile. Non posso dire che mi sia piaciuto del tutto ma mi ha lasciato qualche buona malinconia: sembra un ricordo che ha l'aria di volere durare nel tempo. Per me non è poco.

Paolo Gianoglio
Per me una scoperta e una sorpresa. Scrittura tesa, bella storia, nessuna concessione a trucchi di genere. Un romanzo-romanzo che ricorda i grandi scrittori americani del XX secolo senza sembrare una copia artificiosa. Ma è anche un noir rivisitato, dove non è importante cosa succede ma come succede, dove la lente d'ingrandimento è sulle persone e sui loro sentimenti, sulle relazioni e soprattutto sulle incomprensioni. Alla fine ognuno capisce ciò che fino a quel momento era rimasto oscuro, ma è ...more
Train was okay. Not my favorite of the Dexter books I've read (and I think I've read them all at this point).

It was set in 1953 California. It was not a first person story, but the narrator did use the language of the story's "protagonist," a young black man who went by the name of Train. I did appreciate that Dexter/the narrator told the story in "low class" language--it just fit better with the story.

Other than that, not much to say. I kept thinking the story was going in one direction and the
When I met Pete Dexter, he was a columnist for the Philly Daily News. I had read his early novels and happened upon him at an early Mike Tyson fight in Atlantic City. I told him how impressed I was with his novels, and he was very gracious, taking the time to talk to me and explain his background and his love for Philly.

While Train has nothing to do with Philly or boxing or anything that we discussed, I still believe it is one of his best efforts. His characters are full and revealing, while hi
This novel is the story of an attempted hijack on a yacht and a 17-year-old caddy, Train. Dexter brings the two stories together with a police detective who investigates the crime and befriends Train on the golf course.

There is enough suspense in this story for it to fall in that category, but I found it beautifully written and literary. The novel is set in the 1950s and deals with race relations (I may as well just say the flagrant racism) during that time. The characters are unique, the twists
Thomas Tyrer
Pete Dexter has always been a favorite and "Train" has the same quiet, dark, colorful omniscience as much of his other great work. He has a great way of developing often maligned and unwholesome characters and showing how small insights or motive leads to bad or even tragic outcomes. There's a quiet devastation to his work.
Briefly: What is Pete Dexter's problem? His writing is strong and original and each of the three books I've read by him start out with a bang. Only Paris Trout was able to sustain the momentum, but just barely. Train just nosedives in a wreck of pat-on-the-back writing. Does Dexter not need to get paid? Does he just want to amuse himself by seeing his writing in print? Also, what's with the sexual fetishes that pop in his novels? The first seventy-five pages were great; the rest: not so much. Ti ...more
This is NOT a book about golf. Train is about lives and the mingling of desires conflicting with needs. A really good read. A story which is intense at times contrasted against the humor found within lives that rub up against one another.
Listened to the Audiobook on Recorded Books

Narrated By: Dion Graham

Pete Dexter, the author of The Paperboy (RB# 94836), sets this piece of fiction noir in a Los Angeles that comes straight out of the 1950s. A dark, gripping novel, it brings together a black caddy named Train, a police detective called the “Mile Away Man,” and Norah Still, the only survivor of a bloody boat hijacking, whom the detective must keep tabs on—even as he is falling in love with her.
Pete Dexter is an incredible writer. It feels like he spent minutes selecting every single word, but he does it all in a way that isn't pretentious or pseudo-intellectual. Also, I detest authors who overuse similes, but Dexter is the MASTER of the simile. His are so simple and brilliant that you'll think you're dumb for never having thought of them while being equally amazed that anyone could have. That sounds like gibberish. But seriously, but similes ever.
This is a dark, gritty, sometimes obscenely violent novel. I read the novel fairly quickly (for me) so I know it kept my interest but I honestly kept waiting for something to happen, and for something to be resolved. The story is not uplifting and yet it isn't terribly sad. It is a great depiction of people just plodding along despite what life throws at them. I will read Pete Dexter's novel Paris Trout before I decide if I am a fan of his or not.
Edward Carroll
This is a puzzling book. It is a very dark plot, and there is not a positive character in the entire book - everyone is flawed in one way or another. I did not care much for Pete Dexter's spare style- he brings up things without ever explaining it. Still, I got into the story and was most interested in learning what happened to Train. The story is interesting but the characters are too little developed for me to recommend it to anyone.
Very difficult book to stay with on my part. Got better at the end. Author uses subtle inferences to what has happened and what will happen. Glad it is over.
Jun 28, 2013 Roberta marked it as abbandonato  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
Magari è un romanzo bellissimo, magari con un po' di pazienza e di impegno avrei scoperto un mondo, però ho trovato fin da subito questo romanzo così deprimente da decidere, d'impulso, dopo una giornata stressante, di abbandonarlo dopo poche pagine. Chiedo venia, Pete Dexter, forse ci incontreremo in un altro momento.

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Pete Dexter, b.1943, is the author of the National Book Award-winning novel Paris Trout and five other novels: God's Pocket, Deadwood, Brotherly Love, The Paperboy, and Train. He has been a columnist for the Philadelphia Daily News and the Sacramento Bee, and has contributed to many magazines, including Esquire, Sports Illustrated, and Playboy. His screenplays include Rush and Mulholland Falls. De ...more
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