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Thrill Of The Grass [Paperback]

W P Kinsella
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
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Book Description

April 14 2009
No one writes about baseball with the same brilliant combination of mysticism and realism as W.P. Kinsella. Lovers of the game will be thrilled with the range and depth of the eleven stories that make up this collection. From the magical conspiracy of the title story, to the celestial prediction in "The Last Pennant Before Armageddon," to the desolation of "The Baseball Spur," Kinsella makes baseball a microcosm of the human condition.

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About the Author

W.P. Kinsella is the author of the award-winning novel Shoeless Joe, which was made into the film Field of Dreams. He was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1993 and of the Order of British Columbia in 2005.

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First Sentence
MONTHS LATER, after the cycle of dreams began their nightly invasion of his body, Al Tiller recalled the night the archangel had telephoned the radio station, and he realized that then, and not on the evening of the first dream, was when his troubles had started. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

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4.9 out of 5 stars
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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Kinsella's best collection of short stories June 17 2004
Format:Paperback
My brother told me about W.P. Kinsella in 1984 and I've been a huge fan ever since. I've read everything I can find by him, starting with "Shoeless Joe" and this might be my favorite book of his. He has written at least three collections of baseball short stories and this is easily the best.
Most of the stories are not so much about baseball, it's more a case of using baseball as a background and common thread to tie the stories all together.
These are the kind of stories you can read over and over again. One of my favorites was the story about the fans who decided to turn the latest player's strike into a chance to replace astroturf with real grass. With the stadium shut down for the strike, they came in and returned the field to a natural state. I've always thought that when the players strike they should strike to get rid of astroturf; a cause many fans could get behind.
I don't know of any baseball fan who would not enjoy these stories.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Lot of Baseball and a Little Magic June 6 2004
Format:Paperback
The eleven stories contained in THE THRILL OF THE GRASS are, at least to me, a little more appealing than those in Kinsella's later book, JAPANESE BASEBALL AND OTHER STORIES, though both books are wonderful collections.
Although all of the stories in THE THRILL OF THE GRASS are set against a backdrop of baseball, only some of them are really "about" baseball per se. Instead, these stories concern themselves with the players and their personal lives and how their lives and the decisions they make are influenced by baseball. I think Kinsella made a wise choice to concentrate on the players more than the game (at least in most of the stories) because, ultimately, people want to read about people, not ideas.
The stories in THE THRILL OF THE GRASS aren't related, except that each centers around the game of baseball, all of the narrators are men and many of the narrators are named W.P. Kinsella. I found most of the characters, and especially the narrators, very sympathetic. Although there were many ways in which I couldn't identify with them (they were men, after all), I could identify with their hopes and dreams, their regrets and disappointments.
If you're looking for a "feel good" baseball book, THE THRILL OF THE GRASS certainly won't fill the bill. The stories contained in this volume are thoughtful and melancholy and many have a downright unhappy ending. Others are open-ended and Kinsella leaves it up to the reader to extract what he or she wants from the story.
Kinsella is an author who doesn't give us straightforward stories about the game of baseball. Like his best known work, SHOELESS JOE, upon which the film, FIELD OF DREAMS was based, this wonderfully talented author usually infuses his short fiction with a dose of magic realism as well.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Some gems (diamonds, actually) Nov. 6 2003
Format:Paperback
A collection of baseball stories - or rather, stories involving baseball and baseball players in some way. Kinsella is at hist best when he stays close to earth - hopeful bush leaguers, women trouble - but tends to go way over the top when he tries to involve more "magic" (in his own words) to the game and the story. The Iowa Baseball Confederacy suffered from this problem, and so do a few of the stories in this collection. But when his "stories aren't about events, they're about the people they happen to", he has a wonderful touch. Some of my favourites in this collection are "Drive me to the moon", about a Rookie leaguer and his affair in a one-horse town in Canada, "Barefoot and pregnant in Des Moines", about a big league star and his marriage. Some of these stories are true gems and fully warrant the five-star rating; others are filler, but then even the most classic games have their straightforward 6-3 groundouts.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Classic baseball fiction, especially for Cub fans Oct. 16 2003
Format:Paperback
W. P. Kinsella writes with poignance and wit, capturing both the humor and the occasional tragedy of the game. This collection displays some of his best work.
My alltime favorite among this collection is "The Last Pennant Before Armageddon." In the wake of the Cubs' collapse this fall, a work like this has real prescience and is somehow reassuring that there was a higher purpose behind it all.
Still, there are other strong stories in the mix. In one, the narrator is offered the chance to trade places with the recently-killed Yankees catcher Thurman Munson. Another, more whimsical story takes you inside the clubhouse of the 1951 Giants, as a surprisingly literate team debates whether The Greaty Gatsby is an allegory.
For me, "The Last Pennant Before Armageddon" is reason enough to buy this book. In the wake of the 2003 NLCS, I feel a dire need to read it . . . repeatedly.
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