There has never been a novel like Mid-Strut, virtually a genre unto itself
Friday, October 1, 1965. Arnie “Stats” Castig is a fine, upstanding citizen of a dying western Pennsylvania steel town---until he snaps.
He dashes onto the field at halftime of a high school football game and throws his arms around a majorette. But their feet get tangled and he falls on top of her. “I just wanna hold you,” he keeps saying, as she shrieks into the night. He wishes he could let her go, but he can’t---for she has become a symbol to him, his only escape from the changes in his life, changes that reflect the larger changes in all of America at this chaotic time.
Arnie has lost his job, having been fired for heroic behavior. The repercussions of this incident echo throughout the rest of the book. He has also lost his music, his favorite radio station now playing rock ‘n’ roll instead of the sweet old tunes of his courtship days. For all he knows, he may be losing his wife, as well as the steel industry that has been the heart of his town since he was born.
And so he seeks relief by immersing himself in the exploits of Joe Namath, “the son he might have had,” another western Pennsylvania
steel town boy, who is about to make his debut as a pro football quarterback.
What happens to Arnie after his tangling with the majorette is unexpected, heart-wrenching, and in its surprising way, miraculous.