The Hollow Ball

Sam Hanna Bell, Author Blackstaff Press $0 (248p) ISBN 978-0-85640-452-8
Sixteen-year-old David Minnis works for menial wages in a Belfast clothing factory in the 1930s. His poverty affords few diversions; he courts Maureen, the sister of his best friend, ``Boney,'' and plays soccer for the company team. Frustrated, David labors half-heartedly, desperately seeking a way out of dead-end factory life. As he achieves success and notoriety on the soccer field, signing to a minor-league team and steadily making his way up, he decides to win his fortune with his feet. Bell's tale is much more than a sports story: David is a Faustian soccer hero who abandons love and loyalty for a ``hollow ball,'' with one betrayal leading to another. In an early foreshadowing he lies to his over-burdened mother to afford a pair of soccer boots. He turns his back on the politically active Boney and the Irish working class in their attempts to unionize. In a final break he leaves his fiancee and his country to join an English team. Bell, the author of December Bride, shapes elegant, succinct prose to evoke the beauty and turmoil of Ireland and the excitement of soccer. Bell died last year; this book's U.S. publication marks the passing of a great writer. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1990
Release date: 01/01/1990
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