The Streak by Paul Darcy Boles
New York: Macmillan, 1953. First edition, first printing, stated on copyright page. Hardcover. 218 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm. $3.00 dust jacket with scattered foxing, as well as the first and last few pages within the book. Musty odor to pages. First 9 pages has quarter size stain on bottom edge. Pages are unmarked. Binding is firm.
THE THROBBING ROAR OF ENGINES, the scream of tires slamming into a long skid, the shrill shouts of the crowd urging for more speed, and still more impossible speed — this was Tagli's special music, and the world of racing cars his special world. In that world he was the Maestro, riding a winning streak harder and faster all the time, forcing himself to a pitch of perfection no human being could expect to sustain.
Racing is no mere sport to a professional driver, but to Tagli it was far more than a job; it was in a very conscious way an expression of life itself—stripped down to the lean essential where all that matters is what a man can be and do if he has the right kind of blood, bones, nerves and heart.
Elena was the right kind of woman for a man like Tagli. With her total love, her natural beauty and dignity, and her calm understanding of his values, she fulfilled and strengthened him. Because of her, Tagli could defy the savage clawing of exhaust fumes in his throat, could outwit and outdrive the field, and flash across the finish line yelling his triumph in an ecstasy of sheer joy. But there is always a last race, and an ending — though that is not important. The important thing, for Tagli, the Maestro, and Elena, his love, was to live each moment with their whole beings. And this they did, humbly and exultantly.
This first novel is as compact and powerful as the cars it describes. Boles has succeeded in bringing to intense life the special, little-known world of continental auto-racing with much the same keenness and imagination that Tom Lea brought to the world of bull-fighting in The Brave Bulls. In both cases the reader is immediately involved, closely and excitingly, with an unfamiliar milieu and is made to care deeply for the people he meets there. And Tagli, like Lea's Luis Bello, is something more than an artist in his line: he is a shining reaffirmation of the manhood in man, fighting, living and dying for something bigger than himself.
Paul Darcy Boles was born in Indiana in 1919. He says, "I'm Irish more than anything; most of my forebears came from Cork and Limerick and Ulster. In the late 1800's my land-greedy, land-loving family owned a lot of Fort Wayne. My maternal grandfather was an engineer and automobile designer. Remember the Cord? When E. L. Cord went bankrupt, we took a loss along with him. It was worth it; that was a great car. . . ." He is married, has three little boys. Behind his Mobile, Alabama, home there stands a converted carriage house, in which "I spend almost all my free time, writing more and more that I fervently hope (and believe) gets better and better...."
The Streak is his first novel.
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