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Sunday, March 12, 2006

Reader's Diary #49: David Adams Richards: Hockey Dreams (up to p. 116)


If anyone's taken notice, I've used the word "hyperbole" a lot on my blog. No, I'm not under contract to the good people at Hyperbole.com to give a shout out in every second posting, nor am I trying to prove that I've learned a new word. It's just that I've come across an awful lot of it lately.

Hyperbole is the most common type of humour found in Richards' Hockey Dreams. At least I hope it's humour. It's hard to tell sometimes. When Richards pictures his nuclear family as southern rebels, complete with beards (even his mother), and his extended family as yanks, the humour is obviously intentional. However, when he compares his feelings about Canada losing a hockey game to those of the Romans after being defeated by Hannibal or when he compares the fires they'd light near the Miramachi river as they played hockey to the fires at Waterloo when Wellington defeated Napoleon, you want to believe this hyperbole is done in jest. But it doesn't always come off that way- or I just don't get Richards' comedic stylings.

Asides from that, the other problem I have with this book is the insane number of flashbacks or flashforwards. I can never keep track of which point in history I am supposed to be and it's a little confusing to say the least. Take for example the following paragraphs;
"When we lost the Canada Cup to the Russians in 1981 I refused to watch
hockey... until we won it back in 1984. This was somehow how I felt back then in
the early winter of 1961.
Or worse. I actually felt worse on both occasions than
I can ever describe. I felt like I was to feel after the first game in
1972."
Huh? So when are we now? The whole book is very disjointed and seems to have no chronological anchor. Could it be intentional?

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