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Kinsella, W.P.

Toronto, Collins, c1986. 310pp, cloth, $19.95, ISBN 0-00-223046-1. CIP

Grade 11 and up
Reviewed by Frank Loreto

Volume 14 Number 4
1986 July

It is generally difficult to write an objective review about an enjoyable novel. Personal bias likes to sneak in and influence the direction of the review. W.P. Kinsella's new novel, The Iowa Baseball Confederacy, has been having that effect. If a reader agrees to put disbelief on hold and follow the narrator willingly, then the novel is truly a treat.

The novel centres on Gideon Clarke, whose search for truth takes him back, physically, to 1908 when, according to his father, the Chicago Cubs once played an all star baseball team known as the Iowa Baseball Confederacy. For reasons unknown to both Gideon and his father, all information concerning this match had been suppressed, forgotten, or destroyed by unknown forces. Unfortunately for him, detailed statistics were bestowed upon his father, following his being struck by lightening. A line drive ends his search by killing him, but all this information is transferred to Gideon, who continues his father's frustrating quest to prove that the game did take place. In his attempt to prove the truth, he has to travel back to 1908 and take a surprising part in this great and long-lasting baseball game.

Like Shoeless Joe,* this novel has a summer dreamlike quality; however, The Iowa Baseball Confederacy has more of a nightmarish tinge to it, especially as the game enters into its second thousand innings. Despite the seemingly endless game, Kinsella manages to keep the reader entertained and reading, and this applies to non-baseball fans as well. Unlike the author, the reader need not be a mine of baseball trivia and statistics, for much of the novel takes on the quality of a tall tale.

The Iowa Baseball Confederacy is recommended for senior students, as well as educators. As Kinsella can be suitable for a Canadian literature course, this novel could act as support material or additional reading, or simply as pleasant summer entertainment.

Frank Loreto, Rainy River H.S., Rainy River, Ont.

*Reviewed XI/1 January 1983 p. 16.

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