You may know the name Kinsella from the Kevin Costner character, Ray Kinsella, in the movie Field of Dreams. But it’s also the name of the author who wrote the novel, Shoeless Joe, on which that film is based. Kinsella was born in Canada, and he lived most of his life there, though in the late 70’s he did a stint at the Iowa Writers Workshop, near where the book is set. He wrote several other novels, and a slew of story collections, most of which were about one of his two chief passions: baseball, and First Nations people (though Kinsella was himself white, and was occasionally criticized for writing in the voices of indigenous characters). Kinsella recently passed away, at age 81, and so it seemed an appropriate time for us to finally read his most famous book.
We talk about the book’s portrayal of baseball, and whether it’s too sentimental about the cultural importance of the sport. In the process we discover that one of us might have a higher level of tolerance for baseball-related sentimentality. We also talk about sports writing more generally, and why there seems to be a dearth of great novels about sports. We no doubt missed some in our discussion, so feel free to shoot us an email, or tweet at us, or leave a comment here on the site.
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