Patrick McCoy's Reviews > Cockfighter

Cockfighter by Charles Willeford
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Jan 24, 12

bookshelves: fiction
Read from January 17 to 21, 2012

The Cockfighter, obviously, is about a man who trains chickens for fights that often end in death of one or both animals, thus, it is not for everyone. It is a subculture I knew very little about, but thanks to this novel, I now know a lot about after following the exploits of the protagonist Frank Mansfield. In fact, it could be said to be the "Moby Dick" of cockfighting novels in that there are several sections that discuss the intricacies of the cockfighting trade as well as the conditioning of the birds. It was one of the elements that I found engaging in Miami Blues as well-I was able to immerse myself in the southern culture of Miami and Miami Beach-places that I had never set foot in myself. The same can be said of this novel. I was able to inhabit the southern cockfighting tour and share the triumphs and setbacks of the eccentric protagonist Frank Mansfield whose one and only goal in life is to be the cockfighter of the year. This is a similarity between Hoke Mosely (from Miami Blues) and Frank Mansfield they are driven to succeed and be the best they can in their respective professions almost to the exclusion of other aspects of their lives. Willeford is a master of creating believable and unusual characters in his novels and I look forward to inhabiting his world of fiction in future novels as well.
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