Excerpt from The Dart League King by Keith L. Morris, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The Dart League King

A Novel

by Keith L. Morris

The Dart League King
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Oct 2008, 210 pages
    Oct 2008, 210 pages

  • Rate this book

Book Reviewed by:
Allison Stadd

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt

The Trouble with Liza Hatter

On the evening before his college graduation, Tristan Mackey walked into the campus library, probably with the notion of trying to steal or deface a book or two - he couldn’t seem to remember exactly now, but probably to do something of the sort, something to make him feel more like himself and less like the other self, the one that seemed like a version of Tristan borrowed by other people in order to suit their own purposes. At any rate, he was bent on making some sort of trouble, probably because he was a little drunk already, and the library, because it was quiet and secret, offered the sort of trouble he seemed to be looking for, which was quiet and secret trouble, the kind of trouble that would only be known to himself, that would have no consequences outside of his own head, that wouldn’t keep him from graduating.

The trouble he found there was Liza Hatter, a girl from his political science class. He found her in the second-floor reading area, wearing shorts and a sleeveless top that showed her long limbs to advantage, thumbing through the latest issue of Lucky magazine, bored, killing time, her flip-flop sandals clicking softly on the floor. Liza Hatter had a thing for him, Tristan happened to know, in the same way he almost always knew, was almost never wrong, almost never made a false move or assumption when it came to love, or sex, or however you wanted to refer to it, as if Tristan cared one way or another, the object generally being the same.

In Liza Hatter’s case, it hadn’t been difficult at all to figure out, the signs having been there from the first day of spring semester when he walked into the classroom, and readily apparent on the few occasions when he had run across her in the downtown bars of Moscow, Idaho, and readily apparent now, also, here in the library, the darting eyes and flickering lashes and the rising color in the neck and cheeks, particularly noticeable because Liza Hatter had a pale complexion inclined to a ruddiness that matched her auburn hair, and the nervous agitation of the fingers flipping the magazine pages, and the feet shuffling constantly in the sandals. Tristan had long ago noticed the signs, but he had up to now filed Liza Hatter away for future reference, labeled her as a girl who would do in a pinch, never feeling any urgency in connection with her due to a) her obvious and therefore not very interesting availability, as it was always more gratifying to have to wade through a layer of subtle oppositions to get to the ultimate goal, and b) the fact that, from Tristan’s perspective, she lacked the one quality he valued most highly in the opposite sex, that being a pretty face. She was no dog, certainly, and in fact her high cheekbones and widely spaced greenish eyes and rather full lips and her svelteness and her prodigious height—she was easily five-ten, almost as tall as Tristan—qualified her as hot, a term that Tristan detested but also knew applied in this case, at least where other guys would be concerned. But not so much for Tristan, who found her looks a bit over-refined, a bit cold and aloof, very similar in fact to the pictures of the women in the magazine she thumbed through, and none of the women in the pictures met with his particular approval. No, he’d rather have a good, buxom country girl any day, which was a good thing when you’d grown up in Idaho, where there were plenty available. But as noted, the shorts and blouse Liza Hatter wore in the library accentuated the positive, and there wasn’t any other action around at the moment, the idea of stealing or defacing books having receded all of a sudden, and Tristan was definitely in a pinch.

He had moved out of his apartment in Moscow the week before, back to Garnet Lake, where he was renting a duplex with money he’d inherited from his grandfather, who, in Tristan’s view, had been a lunatic, full all the way up to his white hairline with patriotic zeal and religious nonsense, but who had also been filthy rich and very kind to him, so that he felt badly in his less charitable moments toward him. But now he was back in Moscow for one night only, by himself, having talked his parents and his two older sisters out of coming down for his graduation by threatening not to walk in the ceremony if they attended, claiming it was a waste of time and effort on their part, but for no better reason really than that he hoped to get laid one more time in Moscow before returning to his hometown, where the selection of women was more limited and less interesting, although he hadn’t entirely admitted his motives to himself. But with the apartment unavailable, the apartment in which he’d had sex with so many girls that it had become almost embarrassing, more for the girls themselves than for him, because he had started to feel toward the end that they probably should have known better, he had no place to sleep for the night, and had either to crash in the car, fall back on the hospitality of one friend or another whom he didn’t really want to see, or find a girl to shack up with, which was, of course, Plan A. And Liza Hatter was looking like a good candidate.

Excerpted from The Dart League King by Keith Lee Morris. Copyright © 2008 by Keith Lee Morris. Excerpted by permission of Tin House Books. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

One-Month Free Membership

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Here I Am
    Here I Am
    by Jonathan Safran Foer
    With almost all the accoutrements of upper middle-class suburban life, Julia and Jacob Bloch fit the...
  • Book Jacket: Harmony
    by Carolyn Parkhurst
    In previous novels such as The Dogs of Babel and Lost and Found, Carolyn Parkhurst has shown herself...
  • Book Jacket: Commonwealth
    by Ann Patchett
    Opening Ann Patchett's novel Commonwealth about two semi-functional mid-late 20th Century ...

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Darling Days
    by iO Tillett Wright

    A devastatingly powerful memoir of one young woman's extraordinary coming of age.

    Read Member Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    The Tea Planter's Wife
    by Dinah Jefferies

    An utterly engrossing, compulsive page-turner set in 1920s Ceylon.

    Read Member Reviews

Book Discussions
Book Jacket
Under the Udala Trees
by Chinelo Okparanta

Raw, emotionally intelligent and unflinchingly honest--a triumph.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Win this book!
Win Blood at the Root

Blood at the Root

"A gripping, timely, and important examination of American racism."
- PW Starred Review


Word Play

Solve this clue:

D C Y C Before T A H

and be entered to win..

Books that     

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.


Free Weekly Newsletter

Keep up with what's happening in the world of books:
Reviews, previews, interviews and more!

Spam Free: Your email is never shared with anyone; opt out any time.