I will be forever grateful to W.P. Kinsella even if he never publishes another word because he is responsible for one of my favorite books of all time,Shoeless Joe. That novel, of course, subsequently morphed into what is one of my favorite movies: Field of Dreams. And now, thanks to the remarkable new collection of Kinsella’s short stories (published in celebration of the author’s approaching eightieth birthday), The Essential W.P. Kinsella, I have finally read the short story that started it all, “Shoeless Joe Jackson Comes to Iowa."
The author himself had a hand in choosing stories for The Essential W.P. Kinsella,and fans of his baseball stories and First Nation stories will be pleased with the number of each type chosen for inclusion. 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.