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The Broken Place Hardcover – June 1, 1981
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McClain returns to college, but he knows he will be moving on, for something within him is broken, there's an anger there growing out of old family issues and the war. He drinks a lot, considers returning to prize fighting, the only thing he felt he was good at, was made for, other than soldiering. He meets Lise, there's a strange and wonderful chemistry there, and he doesn't understand it--she's drawn to him from a world he doesn't know.
During the summer of 1954, he meets up with Wilson, an old army buddy, and they travel through Asia, a hard trip with good and bad in it, but the broken place remains. McClain returns home, lives in a mountain cabin and returns to prize fighting. He wins fights, he's good at it, feels whole and natural while he's in the ring, but wonders whether it will help him make peace with himself and whatever created his broken places.
In his posthumously published 1991 novel "For Love of the Game," Shaara lives in perfect harmony inside the head of a pitcher, capturing the thoughts, feelings and motions of a man standing on the mound in a game he loves. With a similar skill, but greater power, he steps into McClain's consciousness in "The Broken Place." A former boxer himself, Shaara becomes the main character, heart and soul, in some of the best and most honest boxing scenes ever written.
While Shaara will always be remembered for "The Killer Angels," "The Broken Place" is, in some ways, a more powerful book. In spare dialogue, magical description, and intense interior monologue, Shaara has created a dangerously beautiful and personal novel.
Several years before the novel was published, those of us enrolled in Shaara's creative writing class at Florida State University were privileged to see excerpts of "The Broken Place" in manuscript form. The story made an indelible impression then that continues to be an inspiration. Let's hope the book doesn't remain out of print.