cover image The Essential W.P. Kinsella

The Essential W.P. Kinsella

W.P. Kinsella. Tachyon (Legato, dist.), $15.95 trade paper (432p) ISBN 978-1-61696-187-9

The career of the incomparable Kinsella (Shoeless Joe) is beautifully represented by these 31 short stories, including, of course, “Shoeless Joe Jackson Comes to Iowa,” the haunting tale of a baseball fan’s obsession with a long-dead star that was developed into a bestselling novel and then the film Field of Dreams. Other charming baseball fantasies include “The Night Manny Mota Tied the Record,” in which a fan agrees to sacrifice himself to bring back the recently dead Yankees star Thurman Munson, and “Searching for January,” which concerns an encounter with the deceased Roberto Clemente. Alongside these stories are several more realistic and mostly gentle satires, such as “The Fog,” that present the escapades of several indefatigable members of Canada’s First Nations. “The Grecian Urn” concerns a couple who can inhabit the interior worlds of great works of art. “K Mart” is the touching tale of three boys who use baseball to escape from their unhappy lives. Kinsella is a masterly writer of short fiction. Though his first-person narrators, mostly men much like himself, can become a bit repetitive when the collection is read straight through, each of these works, whether fantastic or realistic, is individually a small marvel of the storyteller’s art. (Apr.)