Box Socials

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With the award-winning, bestselling, universally acclaimed Shoeless Joe (the basis for the movie "Field of Dreams"), W.P. Kinsella established himself as a storyteller of unsurpassed wit and an unforgettably whimsical voice. But Kinsella's new novel, Box Socials, is easily the best book of his career. Set in the small towns, ball fields, barns and bedrooms of Alberta, Canada, and populated by some of the quirkiest, rowdiest, hottest-blooded folks in fiction, Box Socials paints a brilliantly comic, full-color ...
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Overview

With the award-winning, bestselling, universally acclaimed Shoeless Joe (the basis for the movie "Field of Dreams"), W.P. Kinsella established himself as a storyteller of unsurpassed wit and an unforgettably whimsical voice. But Kinsella's new novel, Box Socials, is easily the best book of his career. Set in the small towns, ball fields, barns and bedrooms of Alberta, Canada, and populated by some of the quirkiest, rowdiest, hottest-blooded folks in fiction, Box Socials paints a brilliantly comic, full-color portrait of North American life in the 1940s. Here's the story of how Truckbox Al McClintock, a small-town greaser whose claim to fame was hitting a baseball clean across the Pembina River, almost got a tryout with the genuine St. Louis Cardinals - but instead ended up batting against Bob Feller of Cleveland Indian fame in Renfrew Park, Edmonton, Alberta. Along the way to Al's moment of truth at the plate, we learn about the bizarre, touchingly hilarious lives and loves of just about anyone who ever passed through New Oslo, Fark, or Venusberg. Narrator Jamie O'Day, the young wide-eyed offspring of downwardly mobile hillbillies, plunks us down in the middle of the wild six-day Ukrainian wedding of Lavonia Lakustra and her Little American Soldier. He introduces us to the luscious Velvet Bozniak, who knows more about sex than any girl has a right to and who is determined to share all her wisdom with Jamie. And of course he attends a slew of box socials, whist drives, and community dances, where the women gossip and flirt while the men tank up on Heathen's Rapture and haul off to engage in the only sport they know aside from baseball - fistfights. Full of the crackle of down-home folk tales, by turns randy, riveting and heart-breaking, Box Socials is the triumph of Kinsella's career.

Beginning with a colorful account of a homegrown hero's legendary baseball showdown, this story quickly takes a hilarious detour through the small towns, ball fields, barns, and bedrooms of 1940s Canada--where a host of brilliantly comic denizens pursue their own glorious dreams and grand delusions in the larger game of life. Kinsella is the award-winning, bestselling author of Shoeless Joe.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Kinsella, whose classic Shoeless Joe found another incarnation in the movie Field of Dreams , evokes the atmosphere of small-town ball fields and other aspects of rural life in this colorful, comic reminiscence of multi-ethnic farm society in Depression-era Canada. Purporting to tell ``the story of how Truckbox Al McClintock almost got a tryout with the genuine St. Louis Cardinals of the National Baseball League,'' narrator Jamie O'Day leads the reader on a rambling tour of the rural Alberta hamlets near which he and Truckbox grew up, the closest being a town called Fark. Inheriting storytelling talent from his father, a transplanted South Carolina carpenter whom he often quotes, Jamie also passes along insights picked up while eavesdropping on the gossip meetings of the ``Fark Female Farmerettes.'' With humor and tenderness Kinsella evokes the social rites of the Norwegian-, German-, Ukrainian- and English-speaking hillbillies, their courtships and heartbreaks, fistfights and philanderings, through a series of weddings, dances, whist drives and box socials. Jamie's teenage memories poke gentle fun at small-town society and at adulthood itself while still celebrating his coming-of-age--the real story here, despite Truckbox McClintock's brush with athletic fame. May
Library Journal
Fans of Kinsella's baseball novels e.g., Shoeless Joe , LJ 4/1/82 will be surprised by this latest novel. A nostalgic look at a way of life long dead, it is best read aloud to be appreciated. Indeed, it is best understood as an oral tale like Mark Twain's ``Story of the Old Ram.'' The narrator keeps promising he will tell us about the day Truckbox Al McClintock got to play against Bob Feller of the Cleveland Indians. He keeps on promising this from time to time, but first he has to tell us all about the residents of the Six Towns area of Alberta during those Depression and World War II days. The way of life is epitomized by the box socials, which both, as the narrator's mother says, ``teach social skills,'' and, as his father says, ``fill every human social need, mayhem being one of the most dominant.'' If not taken as an oral tale, the narrator's repetitive style could be tedious. Despite the caveat, this is strongly recommended for fiction collections.--Marylaine Block, St. Ambrose Univ. Lib., Davenport, Ia.
School Library Journal
YA-- A story about rural life in Alberta, Canada in the 1940s. Here, people must rely on one another for almost all aspects of their daily lives, despite their ethnic diversity and foibles. Kinsella shows how they react to their neighbors' indiscretions, to cultural differences, and to the strengths and weaknesses of individual members of their communities. He adeptly captures the special flavor of small-town life, where everyone knows everyone else's business, and the pace of life before the communication explosion. This includes the social aspects, such as the auctioning of lunches at ``box socials.'' A baseball theme weaves a common thread through the lives of the characters. The author uses an unusual, repetitive style of writing; at times he begins almost every paragraph in certain sections with the same words, or repeats entire phrases or sentences, using them as adjectives modifying some new piece of information. While some readers might find it annoying, others will be amused. The book also gives good insight into the history of a specific area of North America during the time of mass European immigration and societal integration.-- Rose Calio, R . E . Lee High School, Springfield, VA
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780345377494
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 3/24/1992
  • Edition description: 1st American ed
  • Pages: 224

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 7, 2000

    Kinsella hits another Home Run

    This is a great book. It is full of humor and heart. I would recomend this exceptional book to anyone.

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