Dixon Cornbelt League and Other Baseball Stories

Overview

In W. P Kinsella's magical world of baseball - where reality comes spiced with mysticism - all-star legends and would-be heroes join forces in an eerie universe in which the national pastime is always in season. In the title story, a young baseball player goes looking for a break in the cornfields of small-town Iowa, but finds something very disquieting about his roster of teammates. In "Searching for January," Roberto Clemente paddles ashore on a raft, fifteen years after his fatal plane crash - which for him ...
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1995 Hard cover New in new dust jacket. Overstock mark at bottom edge. Careful packing, quick posting. Sewn binding. Paper over boards. Audience: General/trade; General/trade.

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Overview

In W. P Kinsella's magical world of baseball - where reality comes spiced with mysticism - all-star legends and would-be heroes join forces in an eerie universe in which the national pastime is always in season. In the title story, a young baseball player goes looking for a break in the cornfields of small-town Iowa, but finds something very disquieting about his roster of teammates. In "Searching for January," Roberto Clemente paddles ashore on a raft, fifteen years after his fatal plane crash - which for him happened a mere few days ago - and ponders a return to the Pirates and to a world that has gone on without him. And what do you do when your teammate (and roommate!) turns out to he a werewolf? Nine stories amount to nine innings of sheer sporting pleasure in Kinsella's latest collection of basehall yarns.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Once again blending magical and spiritual themes with a baseball setting, Kinsella (Shoeless Joe; Box Socials) takes a light, breezy approach in this mildly satisfying but somewhat redundant collection of nine tales. The plot pattern is remarkably similar from story to story, beginning with the introduction of a seemingly incredible, silly or trivial anomaly that often conceals a darker conflict. A gentle spoof of magical realism, ``The Baseball Wolf,'' raises the issue of our animal nature through a slick-fielding shortstop in an obscure Latin-American league who tries to jump-start his career by undergoing a mystical lupine transformation. The title story follows a parallel trail, introducing an ominous, barely known Iowa minor league that actually functions as a vehicle for repopulating the dying farm towns in the region. ``Eggs'' deals more directly with a serious theme, its protagonist a pitcher who struggles with rural isolation when the loss of his fastball forces premature retirement to his opulent Alberta home and a wife who is unsympathetic to his desire to return to the game. Kinsella clearly is steeped in his sports motif, churning out stories that read like lightning and tantalize the reader with fascinating scenarios. But, like a meal that consists of nothing but appetizers, the similarity of tone and structure ultimately becomes tiresome, and Kinsella's reluctance to plumb the depths of his characters' struggles may leave readers hungering for some meatier material. (Feb.)
Library Journal
More baseball stories from the master of the genre.
Dennis Dodge
Kinsella's short stories grow out of baseball, in which they are firmly rooted, but they grow extravagantly. In the first paragraph of the first story, the shortstop turns into a wolf. It's unsettling, at least to the narrator, a newcomer to the team who is the wolf/shortstop's roommate, but what finally comes of it is the narrator's recognition of his own yearning to transform his life utterly. Similarly surprising developments occur in almost every story. Christy Mathewson appears in the form of a voice on the bullpen phone to advise a cynical major-league manager. Roberto Clemente washes up on a tropical beach, 20 years after he was presumed dead but not a day older, wishing to resume his career. And an ambitious prospect is assigned to a minor-league team without opponents. Those looking for a baseball fix after an aborted season won't find what they expected here, but neither will they be disappointed. Kinsella, author of "Shoeless Joe" 1982, on which the film "Field of Dreams" was based, uses baseball not so much as a metaphor, but as a familiar starting place for exploring, with pinpoint control, the human psyche.
New York Times

"[Kinsella] defines a world in which magic and reality combine to make us laugh and think about the perceptions we take for granted."—New York Times
Calgary Sun

"His short stories about baseball are wistful things of beauty which serve to remind us how the game should feel—the innate glory of a diamond etched in the minds of Americans."—Calgary Sun
Booklist

"[Kinsella] uses baseball. . . . As a familiar starting place for exploring, with pinpoint control, the human psyche."—Booklist
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060171889
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 2/29/2000
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 192
  • Product dimensions: 6.11 (w) x 11.11 (h) x 1.11 (d)

Meet the Author


W. P. Kinsella is the author of more than two hundred short stories and fifteen books, including The Iowa Baseball Confederacy and Shoeless Joe, which became the basis for the film Field of Dreams. A graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop, Kinsella has been honored with the prestigious Houghton Mifflin Literary Fellowship and has taught writing at the University of Victoria.
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Table of Contents

The Baseball Wolf 1
The Fadeaway 23
The Darkness Deep Inside 41
Eggs 69
How Manny Embarquadero Overcame and Began His Climb to the Major Leagues 87
Searching for January 109
Feet of Clay 121
Lumpy Drobot, Designated Hitter 137
The Dixon Cornbelt League 157
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