Iowa Baseball Confederacy, The
5/10 (Tedious mish-mash of fantasy elements)
This was disappointing to me, primarily because it was recommended by someone whose professional work and dedication to baseball I greatly admire. That person called this their favorite book of all time, and not just among the “baseball books.”
I waited unsuccessfully to be wowed through the first third, and I felt optimistic when the narrative finally picked up speed around that point. The second half was definitely more entertaining but it dragged on almost as long as the interminable game it narrated. All the mystical stuff that was supposed to be happening felt like a sort of re-heated gumbo — interesting flavors to be sure, but you’re not sure how good it really tastes overall. The ending was just plain confusing; it didn’t feel totally earned either.
I liked the creativity and passion that are clearly present throughout. Ultimately though, it is mediocre writing (forced similes look exciting on first glance, but they quickly grow tiresome) telling a story not very well (e.g., pretty much every single character is really a one-dimensional caricature).
I suppose it could look better if you think of it as a genre piece, like a really inventive sci-fi/fantasy tale. But yeah, it’s not really exciting enough for that. In any case, I won’t be seeking out more of Kinsella’s stuff any time soon.