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“[Starred review] The career of the incomparable Kinsella (Shoeless Joe) is beautifully represented by these 31 short stories, including, of course, “Shoeless Joe Jackson Comes to Iowa,” the haunting tale of a baseball fan’s obsession with a long-dead star that was developed into a bestselling novel and then the film Field of Dreams. Other charming baseball fantasies include “The Night Manny Mota Tied the Record,” in which a fan agrees to sacrifice himself to bring back the recently dead Yankees star Thurman Munson, and “Searching for January,” which concerns an encounter with the deceased Roberto Clemente. Alongside these stories are several more realistic and mostly gentle satires, such as “The Fog,” that present the escapades of several indefatigable members of Canada’s First Nations. “The Grecian Urn” concerns a couple who can inhabit the interior worlds of great works of art. “K Mart” is the touching tale of three boys who use baseball to escape from their unhappy lives. Kinsella is a masterly writer of short fiction. Though his first-person narrators, mostly men much like himself, can become a bit repetitive when the collection is read straight through, each of these works, whether fantastic or realistic, is individually a small marvel of the storyteller’s art.”
—Publishers Weekly, starred review
This career retrospective celebrates the 80th birthday of baseball’s greatest scribe, W. P. Kinsella (Shoeless Joe), as well as the 25th anniversary of Field of Dreams, the film that he inspired.
“We are reading a writer here, a real writer, muses be praised. “
—Los Angeles Times
In addition to his classic baseball tales, W. P. Kinsella is also a critically-acclaimed short fiction writer. His satiric wit has been celebrated with numerous honors, including the Order of British Columbia.
A Kirkus Best Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Read for March
Here are his notorious First Nation narratives of indigenous Canadians, and a literary homage to J. D. Salinger. Alongside the “real” story of the 1951 Giants and the afterlife of Roberto Clemente, are the legends of a pirated radio station and a hockey game rigged by tribal magic.
“This book’s publication should bring readers back to the once very popular Kinsella, now 79, and one hopes it attracts new readers as well.”
Eclectic, dark, and comedic by turns, THE ESSENTIAL W. P. KINSELLA is a living tribute to an extraordinary raconteur.
“Mystery and homegrown magic realism at its best and most satisfying. Kinsella is a storyteller of the first order.”
—Joe R. Lansdale, author of HAP AND LEONARD
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- Introduction by Rick Wilber
- How I Got My Nickname
- The Night Manny Mota Tied the Record
- First Names and Empty Pockets
- Searching for January
- Lieberman in Love
- The Grecian Urn
- The Fog
- How Manny Embarquadero Overcame and Began His Climb to the Major Leagues
- The Indian Nation Cultural Exchange Program
- K Mart
- The Firefighter
- Dr. Don
- Brother Frank’s Gospel Hour
- The Alligator Report—with Questions for Discussion
- King of the Street
- Do Not Abandon Me
- Marco in Paradise
- Out of the Picture
- The Lightning Birds
- The Last Surviving Member of the Japanese Victory Society
- The Job
- Risk Takers
- The Lime Tree
- Doves and Proverbs
- Waiting on Lombard Street
- Shoeless Joe Jackson Comes to Iowa
- Afterward – Where It Began: Shoeless Joe
“The baseball stories may magically touch on tragic figures such as Roberto Clemente and Thurman Munson, but the tales spend just as much time in the low minors with players who are unlikely ever even to sniff life in Triple A ball, much less the majors. The Indian stories portray the unexpected humor of life on the reservation – humor that is often more of the “sometimes you have to laugh so you don’t cry” variety, than not. There are likely to be surprises for everyone in The Essential W.P. Kinsella. But those who know Kinsella’s work only from his baseball stories are going to get the biggest and best surprise of all.”
For more info about THE ESSENTIAL W. P. KINSELLA, visit the Tachyon page.
Cover art by Thomas Canty
Cover design by Elizabeth Story