TROPIC OF HOCKEY: My Search for the Game in Unlikely Places

Dave Bidini, Author . Lyons $24.95 (316p) ISBN 978-1-58574-464-0

Canadian writer and rock musician Bidini (On a Cold Road) shares his rediscovery of hockey and the global odyssey that brought him back to his nation's sport. Bidini's narrative is funny and thoughtful as he comes to grips with national identity, which in Canada almost invariably means hockey. The book's central theme is that of a dispossessed fan, one who grew out of the sport as he embraced rock and roll, only to rediscover the joy and beauty of hockey as an adult. An avid recreational player, Bidini tells a funny story about his search for the real game. Bored nearly to death by the clutch-and-grab NHL of the late 1990s, he spends an evening watching Martha Stewart instead of his once-beloved playoffs. "I had no choice but to leave," he quips. And leave he does, searching the earth for hockey in its purest form. From Hong Kong to Manchuria, from Transylvania to the United Arab Emirates, the author discovers players and personalities the casual NHL fan would never imagine. Like all good travelogues, Bidini's carries a healthy dose of soul searching; a great storyteller, he's at his best when he stumbles upon revelations about himself or hockey. Perhaps the book's greatest strength is that it is among the first hockey books written by someone entirely outside the pro game. Free from the behavioral constraints and clannish codes of the locker room, Bidini tells a story about hockey that neither Wayne Gretzky nor the author's beloved Wendel Clark could mimic. Canadians have enjoyed this book for almost two years; it's time American readers got a chance to read this gem. (Apr.)

Reviewed on: 03/25/2002
Release date: 04/01/2002
Paperback - 312 pages - 978-0-7710-1458-1
Paperback - 312 pages - 978-1-59228-517-4
Hardcover - 288 pages - 978-0-7710-1457-4
Ebook - 214 pages - 978-1-55199-674-5
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