(Photo by Ed Steer)
Kinsella says he has two favourites in the anthology, The Last Surviving Member of the Japanese Victory Society, and First Names and Empty Pockets. The first was published in 2013 and is dedicated to his late wife, Barbara Turner Kinsella, who died in 2012. The second story takes place in another dimension where Janis Joplin did not die and has been married to the narrator for 15 years. Kinsella says he thinks it may be the best thing he has ever written.
He says Ray Bradbury is a major influence and that he met him once in Palm Desert. Although Bradbury didn’t know Kinsella at the time, five years later he wrote to Kinsella, telling him how much he enjoyed Shoeless Joe.
“I told him he was an influence and that he taught me how to use similes. I discovered him in high school, when we didn’t study any literature and I said, ‘Oh, this is what I want to do,’ ” Kinsella said, particularly citing The Illustrated Man and The Golden Apples of the Sun as favourites.
Read the rest of the article at THE VANCOUVER SUN.
Much of Kinsella’s work combines baseball and magic, as is the case with some of the stories in The Essential, but magic isn’t present in all of these stories and neither is baseball. Nonetheless, they are all magical in their own way.
Some of the stories were joyful and some were sad, all of them were convincing. Some took me through the struggles of minor league players hanging in there, trying to stay out of trouble, while waiting or hoping for the day they are called up to the Bigs. And there was a story about two retired Major League players living together in an apartment, one of them reuniting with his loved ones who died years ago.
And there were stories about divorced men finding love again. One such story ended on a sad note and was dedicated to Kinsella’s wife who died in 2012. I felt his pain while reading that one.
Kinsella has a gift for getting emotions across in his writing and every one of these stories, no matter the subject, was rich with emotions. I loved them all.
Read the rest of Darnell’s review on his site.
For more info about THE ESSENTIAL W. P. KINSELLA, visit the Tachyon page.
Cover art by Thomas Canty.
Cover design by Elizabeth Story.