SHOELESS JOE JACKSON COMES TO IOWA by W.P. Kinsella

SHOELESS JOE JACKSON COMES TO IOWA

Stories
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KIRKUS REVIEW

 Kinsella, best known for The Iowa Baseball Confederacy (1986), here offers his third collection, originally published in 1980 in Canada: a grab-bag of old stories and oddities, most notable for the piece out of which grew a novel and then the movie Field of Dreams. The settings include Iowa, of course, as well as Canada and San Francisco. The title story later became Shoeless Joe and then, even later, the Kevin Costner movie. In it, a baseball announcer's voice very clearly says to the narrator, ``If you build it, he will come.'' He does (Shoeless Joe Jackson, that is) and says, looking around the ballfield, ``This must be heaven.'' ``No, it's Iowa,'' the narrator replies. At this point, the story is a curiosity more than anything else, its significance archival more than aesthetic, but it is the piece that will draw readers to the collection. ``Fiona the First,'' the opener, is about a pickup artist, an aluminum-window salesman who pretends to be whatever works; the story reaches for a kind of fabulism but falls flat--despite some clever repartee. In ``A Picture of the Virgin,'' some guys go to a famous whorehouse in Edmonton, and the narrator, ``somewhat of a virgin,'' ends up telling a long--and predictable, even tedious- -shaggy-dog story. Last, in ``First Names and Empty Pockets''--the most original tale here--the narrator fantasizes about meeting Janis Joplin and becoming her savior, keeping her from her own worst vices. Only for fans who want the entire oeuvre; others would do better to go to Kinsella's baseball novels to discover his most notable work.

Pub Date: Nov. 30th, 1993
ISBN: 0-87074-355-4
Page count: 160pp
Publisher: Southern Methodist Univ.
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1st, 1993




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