Shoeless Joe, the soul-stirring novel on which the movie Field of Dreams is based, is more than just another baseball story. Kinsella captures the spiritual dimension that baseball represents for its most determined devotees in this tale of love and the power of dreams to make people come alive.
"Great Story, won't be disapointed!"
Shortstops who run with the wolves, painted eggs that reveal deeply disturbing meanings, long-dead Hall of Famers who miraculously return to the game, an Iowa minor-league town with a secret conspiracy: these are the elements from which W.P. Kinsella weaves nine fabulous stories about the magical world of baseball.
Highlights in this set include "The Night Manny Mota Tied the Record", "The Battery", and "The Thrill of the Grass". In a plot that preceded anything written by Mitch Albom, "The Night Manny Mota Tied the Record" explores the feelings after the death of Yankee catcher Thurmon Munson. Would a hardcore (non-Yankee) baseball fan give his life to save Munson's? "The Battery" takes readers to Santo Domingo where a wizard created in the vein of author Terry Pratchett sees the birth of baseball playing twins.
Narrated by young Jamie O'Day, who is beginning to understand that, like his daddy says, "every story is about sex or death, or sometimes both, The Winter Helen Dropped By is a story of growing up, of loss, of laughter and of characters both sexy and dead. Helen is the young, pregnant Indian woman who drops into Jamie's life one freeze-the-balls-off-a-brass-monkey snow-storming night.
"Tragic and funny"
Gideon Clarke is a man on a quest. He is out to prove to the world, as his father tried before him, that the world-champion Chicago Cubs traveled to Onamata, Iowa, in the summer of 1908 for an exhibition game against all-stars from the Iowa Baseball Confederacy, an amateur league. The game, which was to be short, pleasant, and the Cubs thought, one-sided, turned into a titanic battle of over 2,000 innings, played mostly in the pouring rain. This game is not on the record books.
In the tradition of his best-selling Shoeless Joe, W.P. Kinsella has created another literary baseball classic. A warm tale of magic, humor and the power of a second chance, its hero is Joe McCoy, an unemployed newspaper writer who by some bizarre circumstances is now a fugitive from the FBI. There's only one thing left for Joe to do - go home to Iowa and tell his story to the only two men who just might believe it - Shoeless Joe's Ray Kinsella and The Iowa Baseball Confederacy's Gideon Clarke.
"Kinsella brings the magic back"
Butterfly Winter, W.P. Kinsella's first novel in 15 years, is the story of Julio and Esteban Pimental, twins born in the Caribbean country of Courteguay, a lush and enchanted but impoverished enclave on the border between Haiti and the Dominican Republic where time moves at its own pace and reality is open to question. The brothers are destined to play ball in America, and to shape the history of their baseball-crazed homeland. They mature quickly and by the age of 10 they leave home for the Major Leagues.
Magic Time is vintage Kinsella. It is a novel of hope and promise and baseball that becomes humorous, enchanting fiction.
Probably no one uses baseball as metaphor better than Kinsella. The stories in this collection range in tone from zaniness to pathos. It's hard to choose a favorite story: maybe the bizarre "Reports Concerning the Death of the Seattle Albatross Are Somewhat Exaggerated", about a mascot from outer space who really looks like a bird. Or the title story, about childhood innocence violated. Or the touching "Valley of the Schmoon", told by a man who has lost everything without having the faintest idea why.