RED WOLF, RED WOLF by W.P. Kinsella


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First published in Canada in 1987, an uninspired collection of stories by Kinsella (Shoeless Joe, The Iowa Baseball Confederacy, etc.). Having scored a success in Shoeless Joe by introducing a real person, J.D. Salinger, into a baseball fantasy, Kinsella strikes out here on weak variations of the same device. In the title story, it's Flannery O'Connor, confronted by one of her characters come to life; in ""Billy in Trinidad,"" it's Billy the Kid (who plays shortstop). Whether taking the voice of Billy the Kid's crony or an aged Iowa widow, Kinsella's research lies heavy on the page, as if freshly cupped from the World Book Encyclopedia. ""'Lupus means wolf in Latin,' ""explains Flannery O'Connor to her character. ""'Lupus the disease is a kind of T.B. of the skin.'"" Other stories feel like apprentice work. ""Butterfly Winter,"" about a Hispanic baseball player and his sudden love for a prostitute, owes its butterflies and magic to Garcia Márquez. ""Lieberman in Love,"" about a wealthy man whose heart is captured by an openly conniving whore, is George Bernard Shaw in a Jewish accent. And so on, with the one constant being Kinsella's cynical view of women--gold-diggers, for the most part. The pity of this disappointing collection is that in almost every story there is a fragment that indicates what Kinsella might be capable of, if he could only slow him. self down and rely less on cheap pathos and trite devices.

Pub Date: Nov. 19th, 1990
Publisher: Southern Methodist Univ. Press