Color of Money

Tevis, Walter. The Color of Money. New York: Thunder’s Mouth Press, 1984.

Reason read: Tevis was born in February. Read in his honor.

“Fast” Eddie Felson was a pool shark twenty years ago. He dominated the underground pool circuit as a hustler for big bucks. Now he is playing exhibition competitions against his former rival Minnesota Fats in shopping malls for cheap prizes. His future looks bleak as he sips his Manhattans. Thanks to a failed marriage Eddie has lost his pool hall business and he has no other real world skills to make a living. He has never had a 9 to 5 job that he liked. All he can do is what he has known since high school, shooting pool, playing the shark. He needs to reenter the world of competitive pool for money. But, how? He is an old man playing a young man’s game. The rules have changed along with the style of play. He has a lot to learn and Minnesota Fats can only take him so far.

As an aside, when The Color of Money was made into a movie I didn’t care for it. I had this opinion that Tom Cruise only starred in movies where the protagonist had to lose something big in order to shape up and fly straight (think Risky Business, Top Gun & Cocktail). This was one of those plots.

Author fact: Tevis was known for his short stories. He often wrote for Playboy magazine.

Book trivia: The Color of Money is the last novel Tevis wrote. Second book trivia – I did not know the Hustler should have been read first. “Fast” Eddie Felson is the protagonist in both stories. Once again, I have read them backwards. Sigh.

Nancy said: Nothing about The Color of Money.

BookLust Twist: from More Book Lust in the chapter called “Child Prodigies” (p 43). For the sake of argument I must say I don’t think The Color of Money belongs in this chapter. No one in this book is a child or a prodigy.

Hole in the Earth

Bausch, Robert. A Hole in the Earth. New York: Harcourt, Inc., 2000.

If you are anything like me you won’t be able to decide whether you love or hate or just feel sorry for Henry Porter. On the surface he is a selfish, superficial s.o.b. who never knows the right thing to say or do. He doesn’t know how to greet Nicole, his only child he hasn’t seen in six years. He has a strained relationship with his girlfriend and doesn’t know how to respond when she tells him she is pregnant with his child. He comes across as shallow and callous. Case in point: “I calculated that if she really wanted to get my understanding, she would ask for it” he says (p 32). But, having said all that, it’s his very attitude that makes him human. We all have our moments of being selfish, superficial, shallow, awkward, cold and callous. Henry Porter is real and you can’t help but identify with him, even if it is just a little. As Henry’s life becomes more complicated (Nicole gets in trouble with a boy and Elizabeth breaks up with him) Henry starts to find his way through his inability to respond to tragedy. It’s a good thing because things go from bad to the very worst and Henry must change in order to survive.

Favorite lines, “I wanted to tell her but my mind would not surrender the words” (p 239), and “Upstairs Nicole was building a cathedral of faithful hatred…” (p 275).

Reason read: National Problem Gambling Week was three weeks ago (March 3 – 9) but in recognition of those struggling with the addiction I read A Hole in the Earth.

Author fact: I loved Robert Bausch’s short bio on the back flap of A hole in the Earth. See if you can figure out why! 😉 “He has worked as a salesman, taxi driver, library assistant, and waiter.”

Book trivia: The cover of my edition features a boy jumping off something. While he is in mid-fall he looks anticipatory and almost excited. It’s a scene from the book that is also a metaphor for Henry’s adult life.

BookLust Twist: From Book Lust in the chapter called “All in the Family: Writer Dynasties” (p 6). So, Pearl’s chapter doesn’t have anything to do with gambling. Instead A Hole in the Earth is mentioned because Robert and his brother, Richard, are both writers.