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Shoeless Joe Jackson Comes to Iowa

Shoeless Joe Jackson Comes to Iowa

by W. P. Kinsella

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Most of the stories in this collection by Kinsella are about men grappling with significant life choices and often blurring the line between fantasy and reality in the process. An aluminum-window salesman who routinely picks up women while traveling on business, inventing new identities for himself and for them during whatever time they have for escaping from everyday life, meets someone who instinctively knows how to play the game, and his ordered existence is threatened. A widowed father, visited by a childhood friend with rapidly dissipating magical powers who needs his help for one last trick, commits a series of small crimes and ends up in the J. Walter Ives Institute for the Emotionally Disturbed, trying to convince the staff he really is crazy. These tales (the title story grew into the novel Shoeless Joe , which in turn was the basis for the film Field of Dreams ) are best when they venture into the fantastic and the narrative supersedes heavy-handed description and shallow characters. Most compelling is the story of the appearance of Sister Ann in an Iowa cornfield; she claims she's waiting for a miracle. She is revered and feared until she melts a foolhardy boy who exposes himself and the villagers come after her. (Nov. )
Library Journal
The poorly chosen title might lead readers to believe that this is a collection of recycled baseball stories, but in fact only one of these weird and wonderful tales is sports-related. The title story contains the germ of Kinsella's novel Shoeless Joe ( LJ 4/1/82); not as deep and rich as the longer work, it remains pure and perfect in itself. Among the other gems: ``Fiona the First,'' a portrait of a man doomed to spend eternity picking up girls at airports; ``First Names and Empty Pockets,'' in which a doll-mender saves the broken Janis Joplin; and ``The Grecian Urn,'' a tale of people traveling in time by becoming part of works of art. Few writers can match Kinsella's ability to establish tone, character, and a complete reality in just a few paragraphs, then sweep the reader into his imagined world. This book should be in any serious fiction collection.-- Marylaine Block, St. Ambrose Univ. Lib., Davenport, Ia.

Product Details

Southern Methodist University Press
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
6.28(w) x 9.23(h) x 0.71(d)

Meet the Author

W. P. Kinsella (1935-2016) is best-known as the author of the novel Shoeless Joe, whose romantic baseball magical realism was adapted into the beloved movie Field of Dreams. In addition to many other baseball-themed works, he also wrote collections of poetry and several works of nonfiction. He will always be remembered for adding the phrase "If you build it, they will come" to the popular imagination. He died in 2016.

Brief Biography

Date of Birth:
May 25, 1935
Date of Death:
September 16, 2016
Place of Birth:
Edmonton, Alberta
University of Victoria

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