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Billy Phelan's Greatest Game Paperback – January 27, 1983
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“Kennedy displays a truly impressive ability to write on a level with his characters, to share the way in which Billy, a gambler on the margins, thinks and moves.”
– Thomas Flanagan, The New York Review of Books
From the Publisher
6 1.5-hour cassettes --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
Mr. Kennedy, thank you very much for Billy Phelan's Greatest Game. A great book that I didn't want to end. If you like historically based fiction, I cannot recommend William Kennedy's Albany books, and especially Billy Phelan highly enough.
One drawback is no doubt my fault. So many characters were introduced that I had to keep referring back to set up relationships and actions. This got tiring after a while, so I just gave up, and never finished the book. Beyond that, I didn't think any of the characters, including Billy, were developed sufficiently to give me much insight into their personalities, psychological deficiencies, and motives - or an incentive to continue.
The Depression-era underworld is fascinating, but where is Elliott Ness when we need him?
At the end of the novel Billy Phelan who has stood by his principles and is not a stoolie finds himself ostracized.
All in all this is a tough realistic work, with sharp dialect and real humor.
If I did not go for it as much as I went for the 'Ironweed' book it is I believe because the violence of the whole thing, the world and the people in it, come to finally turn me off. As I see it Kennedy is a kind of more realistic, and serious Damon Runyan. But precisely Runyan's gentleness with his characters, his feeling that the oddballs and screwballs of his gambling, sports , crime world are loveable jerks after all is what greatly appeals to me. This is not to say Kennedy does not do a good job in delineating admirable sides of his characters, but rather only anything which goes so swiftly and casually from violence to violence ( even in language)is not my cup of Schaefer's , Budweiser's , Ballantine's Miller's , Molson's or any other Albany beer.