Chad Calkins just tipped me to a feature in the New York Times where their in-house book critics do a year’s end roundup, of interest here because they are asked about older titles they may have read in 2018. Dwight Garner writes:
There were two novels I did pick up and admire. . . . The other, better, one was Charles Willeford’s 1962 novel “Cockfighter.” Willeford is best known, when known at all, as a hard-boiled cult writer. But his observant books had unusual emotional registers, a sideways view of life and an indefinable comic air. This book, set in Florida and Georgia, is about a man for whom training fighting birds is an abiding passion. To admire this colorful novel is not to wish a return of that blood sport. The film of “Cockfighter,” released in 1974 and starring the amazing Warren Oates, is a keeper, too.
Suddenly, everybody is an expert.
And what the hell, cockfighting has vanished??? Hey, if you read it in the Times. . . .
Still, as Chad notes, “Pretty cool to have someone at the Times praising Willeford.”