Cool Hand Luke by Donn Pearce
COOL HAND LUKE BY DONN PEARCE
"Every morning we count off through the gate in single file, our voices echoing out into the darkness and into the glare of the spotlights on the corners of the fences. Once again the squads are reformed and counted as we stand at loose and sleepy attention, greeted by a new day of trucks, guns, the hounds barking from the dog pens..."
These are the opening sentences of a shatteringly memorable tale of a Florida road gang. We warn the reader now that there is no escape from this story once begun. The author takes his rough hold on you right away and up to the very end there's no way out other than to keep on reading.
Frightening experiences lie ahead as you share the hours of these men in the iron discipline of their life. Enraging experiences will all but overwhelm you in their systematic devolvement as humans. But most unfortunate of all will be the story and Cool Hand Luke himself.
Luke's satanic refusal to be wholly broken was the inspiration and joy of his fellow prisoners. It will be that for you, too. Like them, you will feel more than enough wonder for his qualities as a man to have a sense of tragedy at his fall. For this is a novel with an authentically tragic theme: what one realizes must happen happens. But at the end one also experiences a renewed sense of the mysterious strength of man's spirit. That alone will more than repay you for the harsher experiences you will have shared as the reader.
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