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W. P. Kinsella.

Boston, Houghton Mifflin, c1982.
Distributed by Thomas Alien.
265pp, cloth, $14.95.
ISBN 0-395-32047-X.

Grades 12 and up.
Reviewed by Michael Freeman.

Volume 11 Number 1.
1983 January.

Canadian William Kinsella has created an authentic American fantasy: motherhood, baseball, and apple pie, and it works. When questioned on the influence of baseball on the subject matter of the novel, Kinsella insisted that this was a story of love: love of family, love of land, love of tradition.

From the first time the ballpark announcer's voice instructs Kinsella to build the baseball stadium in his Iowa cornfield to give Shoeless Joe Jackson and his 1919 Chicago "Black Sox" team-mates a place to play, the reader is whisked away from his mundane world and swept into the vortex of the author's imagination. With the unswerving support of his family, Ray follows the "yellow brick road" that leads him on a cross-country baseball odyssey, accompanied by a somewhat unwilling J. D. Salinger; a journey on which they encounter the reincarnations of old-time ballplayers and the spirit of Holden Caulfield. Their suspenseful return to the Iowa homestead, their unabated joy in following the fortunes of their "phantom" team that now includes Ray's father as catcher, their final triumph over the modern eviction-waving villains, mesh together to reinforce the eternal verities of family, land—and baseball. Recommended for senior students, adults—and fans of the game.

Michael Freeman, Downsview S. S., Downsview, ON.
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