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Shoeless Joe [Paperback]

W.P. Kinsella
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Sept. 29 1996
"Wild...Romantic...Unconventional...A triumph of hope."

THE BOSTON GLOBE

The voice of a baseball announcer tells the Iowa farmer Ray Kinsella: "If you build it, he will come." "He" is Shoeless Joe Jackson, Ray's hero. "It" is a baseball stadium which Ray carves out of his cornfield. Like the movie FIELD OF DREAMS that was made from this novel, SHOELESS JOE is about baseball. But it's also about love and the power of dreams to make people come alive....


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From Amazon

W. P. Kinsella plays with both myth and fantasy in his lyrical novel, which was adapted into the enormously popular movie, Field of Dreams. It begins with the magic of a godlike voice in a cornfield, and ends with the magic of a son playing catch with the ghost of his father. In Kinsella's hands, it's all about as simple, and complex, as the object of baseball itself: coming home. Like Ring Lardner and Bernard Malamud before him, Kinsella spins baseball as backdrop and metaphor, and, like his predecessors, uses the game to tell us a little something more about who we are and what we need.

Review

"W. P. Kinsella plays with both myth and fantasy in his lyrical novel, which was adapted into the enormously popular movie, 'Field of Dreams.' It begins with the magic of a godlike voice in a cornfield, and ends with the magic of a son playing catch with the ghost of his father. In Kinsella's hands, it's all about as simple, and complex, as the object of baseball itself: coming home. Like Ring Lardner and Bernard Malamud before him, Kinsella spins baseball as backdrop and metaphor, and, like his predecessors, uses the game to tell us a little something more about who we are and what we need." Amazon.com --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Crazy about Baseball in Iowa April 28 2002
Format:Paperback
Shoeless Joe by W.P. Kinsella is an inspiring story of Ray Kinsella, a not-so-typical farmer from Iowa who just loves baseball. One day while he's out in his cornfield, he hears the voice of a baseball announcer say, "If you build it, he will come." Like a vision from a crystal ball, he realises and sees that "he" is Shoeless Joe Jackson, and "it" is a baseball field. Although he's called crazy by the rest of the town, his daughter and wife stand beside him. The voice, and Shoeless Joe keep him motivated as they lead him on a journey all across USA to fufill his dreams.
Shoeless Joe is a beautifully written story about going for your dreams, the American way, and remembering true values of life. It's a great book, and it's truly inspiring. I recommend you to BUY BUY BUY!
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2.0 out of 5 stars OF BOOKS AND MOVIES Oct. 25 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
It’s not unusual for a popular book to be made into a movie. Sometimes it works; sometimes it doesn’t. We all understand that, because of time constraints, a two-hour film can’t do justice to all the plot complexities and peripheral characters found in a novel. Those who started by reading the book may find the movie disappointing for that reason.

In the present case, I think the 1989 motion picture, Field of Dreams, is superior to the book, Shoeless Joe, on which it is based. The plotting is tighter, the acting is first rate, and the necessary omission of many details, and even of some characters, highlights the main theme far better.

Though it may be considered a baseball story, this is more precisely a fantasy about dreams, and how they affect our lives, for better or worse. It’s also about regrets and redemption, and the evolution of a father-son relationship. As to the latter, the youthful attitude of Ray toward his father, and how this is transformed later, is more clearly and touchingly resolved in the film.

The book is barely okay–but that’s as high a praise as I can give it. Possibly if I’d read it before seeing the movie I’d feel differently, but I don’t believe so. There are a couple of things about W. P. Kinsella’s writing that I found quite annoying.

One was his overabundant use of similes and metaphors. The words “like” and “as” are so densely scattered through the book I began to wonder if there was anything that was actually as it is, and not just “like” something else. A few examples.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Shoeless Joe April 16 2001
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
1982: Sometimes determination and an imagination can make a person's dreams reality. This notion was powerfully expressed throughout W. P. Kinsella's moving novel, Shoeless Joe. Driven by a mysterious voice that said, "If you build it, he will come", Ray Kinsella sets his ambitions on building a baseball diamond in his corn field in honor of his hero, Shoeless Joe Jackson. Ray Kinsella, a normal farmer from Iowa, ultimately achieved his dreams and ambitions with his baseball field, while seeing the mysterious Chicago Black Soxs play. Ray Kinsella, a baseball fanatic, wandered to New Hampshire to find the novelist, J.D. Salinger, the man the mysterious voice had instructed him to find. Salinger, a retired novelist, did not trust Kinsella, a strange farmer from Iowa who was going to take him to a Red Sox game. Kinsella had got orders from the mysterious voice to take Salinger to the game where they would get their next instructions. Throughout their travels, Salinger and Kinsella try to solve the riddles of the mysterious voice and go to Kinsella's baseball field. W. P. Kinsella induces a world of mystery and tensions between Ray Kinsella and J. D. Salinger as Salinger tells Kinsella, "I work alone. I have my own assignment to complete. I'm the only one who knows how to do it." The mysteries of their assignments are not discussed openly between themselves. Although Kinsella and Salinger are secretive, their loyalty and commitment is most admirable. W. P. Kinsella's writing style is intriguing, expressive, and passionate. While a fictitious novel, it portrays a man's passion for the game, going to all extremes to attain his dreams. This novel deals with the problems one encounters when trying to attain a goal so lofty that only the most determined and lucky people can achieve. Read more ›
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5.0 out of 5 stars Dreams Fade To Reality April 15 2001
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Daydreams, visions, and hopes all come together in the magical novel Shoeless Joe, written by WP Kinsella. In Kinsella's compelling novel, Ray Kinsella, an Iowa insurance agent turned farmer, is changed from a dreamer into a creator. At first, he is a dreamer, hoping to keep his farm while not making enough money off of it to pay off the mortgage. His brothers-in-law constantly attempt to buy his farm from him in order to complete a scheme to make them a load of money. Regardless, he keeps his farm and hopes for a way to pay for it. There, he enjoys life with his wife Annie and his daughter Karina. Annie and Karina support Ray throughout the book, giving him good advice and lifting his spirits when he needs it most. His love of baseball, dreaminess, and determination send him on a journey to both past and present to search for the greatest baseball game that he will ever see. It starts when, one summer evening, Ray hears an incorporeal voice say, "If you build it, he will come." Ray immediately knows that 'he' is Shoeless Joe Jackson, a man banned from baseball for life as a result of the infamous Black Sox scandal of 1919. The 'it' is a baseball field, to be constructed in Ray's cornfield. With care and diligence, Ray builds a stadium, with left field (Shoeless Joe's position) a veritable heaven. He waits for Shoeless Joe to appear, and in time he does and plays ball there every night. Then Ray perfects the rest of the field, and the other members of the Black Sox come to play for him. The fantasy appeared perfect, but it didn't last. Then, "Ease his pain." Ray hears those words from the immaterial voice after his completion of the stadium. Instinctively, he knows that the 'pain' is that of JD Salinger, the famous yet hermit-like author of Catcher in the Rye. Read more ›
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great condition
I was concerned about the condition of this book since it was an old first edition, but it was as described and arrived well packaged and on time.
Published on Aug. 2 2011 by Dano
4.0 out of 5 stars Very Much Not the Movie
I saw "Field of Dreams" the year it came out, and read "Shoeless Joe" several months later. I was in high school at the time, deep into my obsession with baseball books (the Mets... Read more
Published on June 15 2003 by Jason A. Miller
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book
The book itself is good overall and is a story that all baseball fans should read. This book is a reading level that 12 years of age and older could read, and when you do, you... Read more
Published on June 5 2002 by Mike
4.0 out of 5 stars An adventure through a pastime
"If you build it he will come", an unfamiliar voice softly whispers in through the cornfield. These few words change Iowa farmer, Ray Kinsella's life. Read more
Published on Dec 4 2001 by Tyler Jackson
5.0 out of 5 stars Shoeless Joe
The book Shoeless Joe is the base for Field of Dreams. Shoeless Joe is a great book from him watching his father hood hero to him playing catch wiht his dad.
Published on Oct. 8 2001
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant and evocative
The prose may be over the top at times, but what a preposterously brilliant, creative book: can one even conceive there would be a book where two of the principal characters were... Read more
Published on Aug. 28 2001 by "pspa"
5.0 out of 5 stars ORDER IT--IT WILL COME
As an author with my debut novel in its initial release, I sincerely admire SHOELESS JOE by W.P. Kinsella. Read more
Published on Aug. 15 2001 by Kent Braithwaite
5.0 out of 5 stars ORDER IT--IT WILL COME
As an author with my debut novel in its initial release, I sincerely admire SHOELESS JOE by W.P. Kinsella. Read more
Published on Aug. 15 2001 by Kent Braithwaite
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspirational & Enchanting! A Wonderful Story!
Shoeless Joe is by far Kinsella's best work as an author. I enjoyed this book from beginning to end. Read more
Published on March 6 2001 by Michael Delaware
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