Magic Time

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Overview

Mike Houle is a college all-star second baseman in his junior year when he turns down a fourth-round draft pick offer from the Montreal Expos. He'll finish his business degree and try his luck again next year. But Mike's final year in college sees his performance take a downward slide, and his big league dreams are going the way of his stats. When Mike's agent offers him a chance to play in the Cornbelt League in Iowa, Mike can't refuse. He can even handle the isolation of living in Grand Mound once he learns ...
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Overview

Mike Houle is a college all-star second baseman in his junior year when he turns down a fourth-round draft pick offer from the Montreal Expos. He'll finish his business degree and try his luck again next year. But Mike's final year in college sees his performance take a downward slide, and his big league dreams are going the way of his stats. When Mike's agent offers him a chance to play in the Cornbelt League in Iowa, Mike can't refuse. He can even handle the isolation of living in Grand Mound once he learns he's a cinch to start at second base.

Sure enough, Mike's never played better than on the Grand Mound Greenshirts, and he even begins to fall for the town's charms, including a certain Tracy Ellen Powell. That is, until he starts to suspect that when the good citizens of Grand Mound lure young men into their town, they have more on their minds than just baseball ...

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Editorial Reviews

Vancouver Sun
[Kinsella] can juice up sentences the way a sly pitcher can load up
a ball with tobacco spit to make it break like an apple rolling off a table.
Edmonton Journal
Kinsella hits another home run.
Publishers Weekly
Previously published in Canada and optioned for film by the producer of The Natural, this is a warmhearted, homespun novel by the award-winning author of 30 books including Shoeless Joe, which was made into the Academy Award-nominated Kevin Costner movie Field of Dreams. When LSU's phenomenal second baseman Mike Houle turns down a signing bonus from the Montreal Expos in order to complete his senior year and graduate, his performance on the field declines, and he is passed over in the next draft. Desperate for another chance, he accepts his agent's offer to sharpen his skills, playing the next season for Grand Mound, Iowa, in the conspicuously anonymous semipro Cornbelt League. While the semipro circuit pays a modest salary plus room and board with a local sponsor, it also requires the players to work at regular day jobs, usually provided by the local businessmen sponsors. Mike soon discovers that the town is populated by former players who married local girls and stayed on to raise families, and it just so happens that his sponsor has a beautiful daughter. During the preseason, Mike falls for the girl, and the plot thickens when his widower dad comes to see him play and is invited to stay at the home of a comely widow. Is this paradise, or is it an all-too-comfortable prison? Feeling betrayed, Mike takes another offer, but soon finds that the grass is not always greener. This soft lob of a novel doesn't fly quite as high as the author's previous home-run hits, but satisfies with its endearing characters and baseball lore. (Nov.) Forecast: Kinsella's fans should respond well to this title, and if the promise of a film version is realized, look for even bigger sales later on. Copyright2001 Cahners Business Information.
VOYA
Mike Houle, a former college baseball standout, is looking for one more shot at a major league career. That opportunity comes from a small-town team in the Iowa Cornbelt League. Playing ball in the evenings and working for Emmett Powell's insurance business during the day all seems quite normal in Grand Mound, Iowa. When Mike begins to fall for Emmett's attractive teenage daughter, the thought of giving up a chance at the major leagues and settling down in rural America seems more and more appealing—maybe all too appealing. Everyone seems too eager to make the players feel at home, and many host families, including the Powells, shamelessly promote a love match between their daughters and the players that they host. Something is just not quite right in Grand Mound. Kinsella is a master storyteller, and somehow he can make the magic of his stories seem as real as a beautiful sunrise over the cornfields. Weaving together numerous short tales into one wonderful novel of dreams, hope, and yes, magic—baseball magic—the author nearly has topped his masterpiece Shoeless Joe (Hougton Mifflin, 1982). Kinsella's strength is in his character development, which adds a great deal to why the reader will not want to put this one down. Teens will relate to Mike's ambition to follow his dream and do something big with his life. Both public and school libraries with patron interest in Kinsella's writing, baseball, or a great story will want to purchase this book. VOYA CODES: 5Q 4P S A/YA (Hard to imagine it being any better written; Broad general YA appeal; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12; Adult and Young Adult). 2001, Voyageur Press, 224p,
— Bradley Honigford
Kirkus Reviews
Canadian native Kinsella's first novel to be published in the US since Box Socials (1992) is another saga of baseball in Iowa. Ever since the success of Field of Dreams, the film based on his novel Shoeless Joe, Kinsella has been plowing the same furrow of corn-fed, baseball-driven magical realism. This new effort comes after a long layoff resulting from a serious accident that cost him four years of hospitalization and rehabilitation. Regrettably, like a player coming off the disabled list, Kinsella seems rusty, his timing more than a little off in this story of Mike Houle, a star college second-baseman at the end of a lousy senior year who is offered one last chance at a baseball career by his agent. His last-ditch effort will put him in the semi-pro Iowa Cornbelt League in the idyllic town of Grand Mound. But it quickly becomes obvious to Mike, who narrates, that Grand Mound is, if anything, too idyllic. The family he stays with treats him like a son, welcomes his widower father with glee, and hooks him up with a pretty widow. Everyone seems too good to be true, and the team never gets beyond playing inter-squad games that attract the entire population of the town. Of course, there's a deep secret, but, as usual in Kinsella's feel-good fairy tales, the secret is as much in Mike's heart as in the town itself. Kinsella has been guilty of overwriting, but the purple patches in Shoeless Joe were amply compensated by a certain craftiness in the book's overall architecture. The prose in this outing, regrettably, is flat and affectless, devoid of texture or sense of place or era, while the interweaving of plot strands is mechanical. The result is a treacly valentine to small-town life insomething akin to the Norman Rockwell mode.
From the Publisher
"Kinsella hits another home run."-- The Edmonton Journal
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780896585751
  • Publisher: Voyageur Press
  • Publication date: 1/28/2002
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.85 (d)

Meet the Author

W.P. (Bill) Kinsella is the author of some 24 books and more than 200 stories. He is best known for his baseball fiction: The Thrill of the Grass; Go the Distance; The Iowa Baseball Confederacy; The Dixon Cornbelt League; Box Socials; and Shoeless Joe, his multi-award-winning novel that became the classic movie Field of Dreams, nominated for three Academy Awards, including Best Picture.

Kinsella's other books include Dance Me Outside (also made into a feature film); Scars; Born Indian; The Moccasin Telegraph; The Fencepost Chronicles; The Miss Hobbema Pageant; and Red Wolf, Red Wolf, from which the story "Lieberman in Love" was adapted for the screen and went  on to win an Academy Award for Best Short Feature. His most recent novel, If Wishes Were Horses, has been optioned by Fox 2000.

Magic Time has been optioned by the producers of The Natural.

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 6, 2008

    For any athlete who loves the game but hates failure

    Like the rest of world, I fell in love with 'Shoeless Joe', a story that was whimsical, funny, sad, and heartwarming. 'Magic Time' is no different, full of insight and warmth. Mike Houle's character could be anybody playing baseball in college or the minor leagues. He's a boy that loves baseball, sex, beer, the typical college kid. Kinsella puts us into his life, and the ride is nothing less than pure joy. I wouldnt'reccomend this book to middle schooler's, as the content in it is considerably mature at points, but for a high school senior or junior, I say go for it. You won't be dissapointed, and you will walk away smiling.

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