Without King Leary, the catalogue of Leacock Medal winners would not have a single book with hockey as its major theme. Many Canadians might think this is enough to establish its importance.
But Paul Quarrington’s story is also unique as a medal winner that gives voice to the elderly, and I think it’s significant because it features a part of Ottawa that does not get enough attention. The part that people like me call home.
Percival“King” Leary is an old-time hockey star, a character based on real-life player and coach King Clancy. Like the real King, Leary was raised in the Ottawa that thinks of hockey, not politics, as the most exciting game in town, and the characters of his childhood dominate his thoughts.
A musician, filmmaker, and composer as well as a novelist, Quarrington, who died of lung cancer at 56 in January 2010, could draw on wide range of tools and techniques to tell the King Leary story, and he shows writers how to introduce flashbacks and imaginings in an elegant and effective way. In the garb of a student, I try to echo these techniques in my lesson/review.
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