Playing the Moldovans at Tennis

Playing the Moldovans at Tennis

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by Tony Hawks
     
 

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It doesn't take much - "£100 is usually sufficient" - to persuade Tony Hawks to take off on notoriously bizarre and hilarious adventures in response to a bet. And so it is, that one afternoon in Balham, a pointless argument with a friend concludes in a bet - that Tony can't beat all eleven members of the Moldovan soccer team at tennis. As natural sportsmen,

Overview

It doesn't take much - "£100 is usually sufficient" - to persuade Tony Hawks to take off on notoriously bizarre and hilarious adventures in response to a bet. And so it is, that one afternoon in Balham, a pointless argument with a friend concludes in a bet - that Tony can't beat all eleven members of the Moldovan soccer team at tennis. As natural sportsmen, Tony's friend argues, they will beat Tony easily. "One of them," he reasons, "is bound to be very good." And with the loser of the bet agreeing to strip naked on Balham High Road and sing the Moldovan national anthem, this one was just too good to resist.

And so this was how Tony found himself embarking on an extraordinary quest which would see him travel from England to Moldova to Transnistria, Northern Ireland, and eventually to Israel, in an attempt to get Moldovan football players on to the tennis court.

The ensuing unpredictable and often hilarious adventure sees him being taken in by Moldovan gypsies and narrowly avoid kidnap in Transnistria. It sees him smuggle his way on to the Moldovan National Team coach in Coleraine and witness (almost) divine intervention in the Holy Land. And in the end, someone will strip down outside Woolworth's on Balham High Road.

In this inspiring and exceptionally funny book, Tony Hawks has done it again, proving against all odds that there is no reason in the world why you can't do something a bit stupid and prove all of your doubters wrong. Or at least that was the idea....

Author Biography: TONY HAWKS is a London-based writer and comedian who makes regular appearances on British TV and radio. Playing the Moldovans at Tennis is his second book, and if you have not already done so, he strongly urges you to buy his first book Round Ireland With a Fridge, a surreal adventure prompted by a £100 bet. Unlike most authors, Tony has singularly failed to settle down and live in the country with a wife and four children. This, however, is his ambition.

Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
Another goofy travelogue—and a UK bestseller—by the English writer who, on a dare, once hitchhiked around Ireland with a refrigerator. Don't come to Hawks, as you might with just about any other literary travel-writer, expecting to glean respectful social-studies lessons about exotic Third World places and why they seem that way to jaundiced First Worlders. When Hawks takes us to Moldova—that sandwich-thin, Romanian-speaking slice of the former Soviet Union once known as Bessarabia—it's mostly to complain about the awful food, the horrific drinking habits of the locals, and the absence of reliable telephones, electric lights, and hot water. Still, he's quick to admit his ignorance of the place. He writes, for instance, that he'd been blissfully unaware of a separatist movement of Russian-speaking Moldovans that declared a "Transnistrian Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic" following the collapse of the Gorbachev regime. "All this had gone largely unnoticed by Western observers and particularly by me," he confesses. "I'd been too busy practicing my serve." He'd been doing so to bone up for another goofy dare, namely, to find and play tennis matches against the Moldovan national soccer team, which had given the English team a good scare in an international match some months earlier. His account of his travels to Moldova, Transnistria, Northern Ireland, and Israel to track down those worthy opponents may remind some readers of Bill Bryson (except that Hawks is genuinely funny and doesn't have to reach to get a laugh). The payoff (finding out how the bet turns out) is well worth the occasional dry patches. Not particularly elevated or elevating, but a lot of fun.
From the Publisher

“Hawks's comedic talent comes across well in the written form...he has a breezy, witty style that makes the book extremely enjoyable...Hawks is not only a crazy comic but a keen observer of the human experience.” —The San Francisco Chronicle

“This is an extremely entertaining book...A real treat for fans of the weird, the silly, and the out-of-left-field.” —Booklist (starred review)

“[Hawks's] account of his travels to Moldova, Transnistria, Northern Ireland, and Israel to track down those worthy opponents may remind some readers of Bill Bryson, except that Hawks is genuinely funny and doesn't have to reach to get a laugh.” —Kirkus Reviews

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780753152133
Publisher:
ISIS Large Print Books
Publication date:
01/28/2002
Series:
Isis Hardcover Series
Edition description:
Large Type
Pages:
352
Product dimensions:
6.22(w) x 9.56(h) x 1.25(d)

Meet the Author

Tony Hawks is a London-based writer and comedian who makes regular appearances on British TV and radio. Playing the Moldovans at Tennis is his second book, and if you have not already done so, he strongly urges you to buy his first book Round Ireland With a Fridge, a surreal adventure prompted by a £100 bet. Unlike most authors, Tony has singularly failed to settle down and live in the country with a wife and four children. This, however, is his ambition.

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Playing the Moldovans at Tennis 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Anyone familiar with Tony Hawks would expect this book to be really entertaining, and it is. 'Some have even said funnier than Bill Bryson, and I have to agree.' As if that isn't enough, it's also one of those books where the main character's horizons are broadened-- and of course, so are ours.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I had a friend that lived in the Republic of Moldova, and he suggested that I purchase the book Playing the Moldovans at Tennis. I must admit, I was hesitant at first, but after the first page you're already crying from the insanely witty humor this author possesses. Who knew a simple bet could change one man's life, and bring two completely different cultures in unison for a ride of laughter, tears, and fulfillment. Tony Hawk's Playing the Moldovans at Tennis is a must read!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is Tony Hawks best work! I dont want to give anything away, but it is worth the read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I picked up a paperback copy of this in London and I am so i happy I did. I lived in Moldova for over two years and he described everything I have been trying to tell my friends and family since returning. I laughed at every page.