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Cockfighter Paperback – June 30, 2011

11 customer reviews

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4 Stars and Up Feature: Kitchens of the Great Midwest
"Foodies and those who love contemporary literature will devour this novel that is being compared to Elizabeth Strout's Olive Kitteridge. A standout." --Library Journal Learn more

Editorial Reviews

Review

"No one writes a better crime novel than Charles Willeford." --Elmore Leonard

"Charles Willeford renders the sport [of cockfighting] with such knowledge and attention to detail that . . . I had the almost inexpressible impression of being on my knees again beside the great fighting pits of the southern circuit." --Harry Crews --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Inside Flap

The sport is cockfighting, and Frank Mansfield is the Cockfighter--a silent and fiercely contrary man whose obsession with winning will cost him almost everything.  In this haunting, ribald, and percussively violent work, the author of the Hoke Mosely detective novels yields a floodlit vision of the cockpits and criminal underbelly of the rural South. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: PictureBox (June 30, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0984589228
  • ISBN-13: 978-0984589227
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.2 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #605,827 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 12, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Every once in a while we realize, as a former professor once told me, that the perfect destroys the good. Cockfighter is not perfect, nor does it attempt to be. Willeford, as in all his other novels, dissects a slice of blood and guts Americana, without apologies and with no holds barred. The story of a man who chooses to remain silent until he redeems his status as a champion cockfighter is as unusual as it is simple. Like Moby Dick we learn all or too much of what we wanted to know about the subject. But if you want to take a trip to the redneck South of fifty years ago and get all dusty and sweaty and drunk and maybe killed--and still be home for dinner, then you'll find this book will do the job. More importantly, Willeford knows people and knows how to paint them so you'll never forget them or the sport they so ritualistically followed. If you, like many of us also have a visual need, find the video of the movie. In it, with a small part by the author, you'll get a complete picture of this unique aspect of our culture.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By "elljay" on April 27, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
You can't really relate to another man's (or woman's) obsession, but "Cockfighter" does a impressive job of drawing the reader into the psyche of Frank Mansfield, the single-minded hero of this pretty intense novel. Frank's goal in life is to win the Cockfighter of the Year award, and he's taken a vow not to speak another word until he does so. In relating silent Frank's journey, the author takes us on a memorable trip through the cockfighting pits of the Southern U.S. and allows us a close-up look at the rugged, obsessive, fiercely individualistic types who haunt them. You will learn from this novel virtually everything you could conceivably wish to know about cockfighting; the details feel absolutely authentic. Above all, though, it's a convincing portrait of a man driven half-mad by his private demons.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Clara on March 7, 2000
Format: Paperback
I read it years ago and I still haven't recovered. When you are through, you will understand how gambling becomes insanity, its rituals imposing a twisted order on full blown psychosis. As a work of first person narrative, it's breathtaking. The other books by the same author will not prepare you for the intensity of this story. If Jim Thompson is too dark for you, don't read this: you will be jumping right out of the window.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Betsy Willeford on August 19, 2008
This has been copied from an early manuscript; the genuine Cockfighter was published in hardcover by Crown and in paperback by, among others, Black Lizard.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By lazza on January 14, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Before reading 'Cockfighter' I knew nothing of cockfighting. Now I know more than I thought possible, which I guess is a good thing. :-) Thankfully Charles Willeford's cockfighting education manual is actually a darn good read.
Cockfighting is gruesome, and Willeford does not sanitize the sport in any way. In a rather balanced way he describes cockfighting and cockfighters. The main character in this novel is obsessed in winning the 'super bowl' of cockfighting. He lives for cockfighting. Quite honestly, it's a rather depressing existence. Thankfully Willeford's attention to detail rises just above the boredom level. And the ending is very exciting indeed.
Bottom line: certainly not a book for everyone. Yet it's compassion to this nasty blood sport should be lauded.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 13, 1998
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is a very solid book and, to be perfectly honest, I know of no other book on this subject. Oh, sure, Charles, by the time he wrote this was so wrapped up in being a genre writer, it reads like any mid-level hard-boiled crime book. Fortunately that is a style that appeals to me, so no complaints there. But the heart of the story, which, no doubt, required quite a bit of research, is about a man who chooses to be silent until he regains a lost fortune and a lost reputation. Once, he was one of the top cock-handlers around, a ruthless, compulsive man who fell upon hard times and lost everything when his chicken fell short of expectation. But the scenes in the pit are horrific. Gruesome, bloody, gut-churning, one must imagine it is a very accurate depiction of this faded into history form of gambling. Let us not mourn the passing of the great cock-fighting circut because, well, hell, it is an inately cruel and savage spectacle, much like an old-fashioned bare-knuckle brawl to the death. But there is a lot of America in this novel, a harsh, gruesome, desperate side that thumps at night and makes one wonder how far they would go to defend their honor. El Matador in the third pairing, bet on it. If interested, head down to Mexico and ask around the bull ring where you might be able to find a good cockfight. Take a gun because, you're at a cockfight in Mexico and you look like a victim.
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