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Saturday, October 08, 2011

W.P. Kinsella back in the game with Butterfly Winter

The Further Adventures of Slugger Kinsella…

So Butterfly Winter should be a very big deal in Canadian publishing. The author of Shoeless Joe is back. He’s writing about baseball. He’s including hallmark elements of magic realism.

...Nevertheless, Butterfly Winter should appeal to his core audience. It’s the story of twins Julio and Esteban, baseball players from the fictional Caribbean country of Courteguay who aim for the big leagues while being controlled by a mysterious man in a hot-air balloon known as the Wizard. The tale unfolds as an interview between the Wizard and a character referred to as the Gringo Journalist, both of whom appear to contain elements of the author.

As with so many of his novels, baseball becomes a rich backdrop for a tale about family, romance and magic. For Kinsella, the game has always been a deep well to draw from, even if the explanation for his obsession sounds somewhat enigmatic.

“It’s the open-endedness of the game,” he says. “The other sports are all twice enclosed, first by time limits and then by playing boundaries. On a true baseball field, the foul lines diverge forever, eventually taking in a good part of the universe. There’s no time limit on a baseball game. So it makes for larger-than-life characters. Things like basketball and hockey are limited to that little playing surface. It’s hard to get really magical happenings.”

Repoz Posted: October 08, 2011 at 04:33 AM | 8 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: books, history

Reader Comments and Retorts

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   1. TerpNats Posted: October 08, 2011 at 01:16 PM (#3956813)
It’s the story of twins Julio and Esteban, baseball players from the fictional Caribbean country of Courteguay who aim for the big leagues while being controlled by a mysterious man in a hot-air balloon known as the Wizard.
That rumbling you just heard came from L. Frank Baum's grave.
   2. BDC Posted: October 08, 2011 at 02:00 PM (#3956850)
Well, Kinsella has never been known for avoiding pastiche. It gives his writing a kind of pomo edge.

I am glad to hear he's "back in the game." Kinsella had been battling bad health, and isn't in his first youth anymore. I don't always like his work, but he's written more good baseball fiction than anyone else, in all kinds of modes.
   3. morineko Posted: October 08, 2011 at 03:53 PM (#3956934)
Canadian release only, presumably no e-book? Guess I'll read it in 20 or so years, then.
   4. Lassus Posted: October 08, 2011 at 04:20 PM (#3956947)
I am obviously ignorant to the ways of the world if I can't understand how a book can only be released in Canada.
   5. Swedish Chef Posted: October 08, 2011 at 04:32 PM (#3956950)
I am obviously ignorant to the ways of the world if I can't understand how a book can only be released in Canada.

It's not like it's illegal to order from amazon.ca from the US.
   6. BobT Posted: October 08, 2011 at 05:03 PM (#3956965)
Importation of this book is specifically prohibited by NAFTA.
   7. BDC Posted: October 08, 2011 at 05:08 PM (#3956966)
Lots of books are published in Canada but not in the US. Canadian authors' books usually get this treatment unless they're Margaret Atwood or somebody; hence Kinsella's publication history. There are also a fair number of translations from European languages into English, things that first published in the UK but not good candidates for the general US market (where books have to have huge earning potential to make it into the mix at B&N).

As the Chef says, though, there are ways. When Lake St Clair freezes over, guys will cross at night in iceboats loaded with experimental fiction.
   8. morineko Posted: October 09, 2011 at 02:09 PM (#3957504)
Oh, I order plenty from amazon.ca but I was speaking in terms of "what my public library will order"--and I'm too broke to buy More Paper Books right now.

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