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Slotback Rhapsody [Kindle Edition]

Christopher Harris
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $12.00
Kindle Price: $5.99
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Book Description

At 27 years old, undersized but talented Nick "Mouse" Morrison has yet to realize his dreams. After several unsuccessful training camps, Nick decides a minicamp in Detroit will be his last go-round. His rejections have been tough on him, spiritually and emotionally -- not least since the previous year marked the end of his on-again-off-again relationship with his college girlfriend Henny. The only way he's able to regroup for this final try is by attempting a Buddhist approach to his life as well as football, but even that stresses him out. While going through an existential crisis from which only a thinking man's athlete can suffer, he's being absolutely crushed by 350-pound defensive tackles and bellowed at by coaches.

The novel follows Nick as he finally finds success as a slotback. But his compromises are many. His buddy Gasper hooks him up with HGH (human growth hormone), while Gasper is betting more money than he’s got on football. Meanwhile, Henny makes a surprise visit, and now that he’s a pro Nick suspects he might have another chance with her. With his life hinging on each game, how much of his identity will he sacrifice for success in a profession that thrives on conformity?

This is Friday Night Lights all grown up. Not since Don Delillo’s End Zone has there been such a brilliant portrayal of charming meatheads and on-field action. From a writer who works as a journalist in professional sports, SLOTBACK RHAPSODY is a hilarious and surprisingly accurate inside look at what it’s like to be a professional athlete in today’s 24/7 idol-obsessed culture, as well as a meditation on the high cost of single-mindedness.


Editorial Reviews

Review

FROM PUBLISHERS WEEKLY

"The author's testosterone-fueled story trudges along at a steady clip that will keep football fans glued to the page. An ESPN commentator, Harris knows his subject matter and delivers a serviceable narrative that's lively and readable..."

FROM MIDWEST REVIEW

"Slotback Rhapsody is a charming and riveting read for sports fiction collections."

About the Author

Christopher Harris writes and appears on television for ESPN, commenting exclusively on professional and fantasy football. Before working for ESPN, he covered sports for Yahoo!, and his sports articles have also appeared on NBA.com and in ESPN the Magazine. He has an MFA in fiction from the University of Massachusetts, and has published short stories in such journals as Washington Square, LIT, News From The Republic of Letters and Slush Pile.

Product Details

  • File Size: 645 KB
  • Print Length: 268 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1466485566
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005ZJVAP0
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #444,989 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Worthwhile Read January 31, 2012
By PeterH
Format:Paperback
Slotback Rhapsody by Christopher Harris is an intelligent football story not just for sports fans. Harris, who writes for ESPN.com, merges his football knowledge and writing craft to fine effect in this fictional yet insightful depiction of a struggling athlete and the choices he makes to achieve success.

It's another training camp for determined but diminutive Nick Morrison who has had little success launching his professional football career. This time it's with equally struggling Detroit--oddly, all team nicknames are conspicuously absent, perhaps for legal or copyright reasons--but he fails again. He's in his late twenties now and the odds of succeeding are diminishing rapidly. Unless he loads the dice.

He remains in Detroit and strikes up a casual friendship with one of the team's employees, Gasper, who becomes a connection for Nick to illegal Human Growth Hormone. What's he got to lose? The stuff works and just in time as injuries create an opening for a slotback with Detroit. While his teammates and coaches notice he's larger and faster, his intelligence, dogged hard work, and a bit of luck divert suspicion.

While hardly a Tim Tebow, Morrison's success inspires his mediocre team and turns them into an unlikely playoff candidate. Furthermore, he becomes a fan favourite, a proletarian success story for a proletarian community. He's easy for the Detroit fans to cheer for but not so much for the reader who knows his secret.

The season progresses and we're along for the ride with Nick's episodic observations and experiences on and off the field. Throughout, he remains even-keeled, enjoying but not flaunting his success, acknowledging but not feeling guilty about its cause.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An Easy and Entertaining Read July 5, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Really enjoyed the book, well written and very quick read. Found once I got started I couldn't put it down
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Read! March 15, 2013
Format:Paperback
I just ordered Harris' new book, The Big Clear: A Novel, and realized I never wrote a review of Slotback Rhapsody. Better late than never...

This is a very entertaining read. Given that it takes place in the world of pro football, there are some stock characters and situations: the inscrutable coach with the southern drawl, the oversized loudmouth players and the groupies who love them, unexpected revelations and the big game. But Harris navigates this world with an original and very intriguing main character: Nick "Mouse" Morrison. He's the perfect blend of intellectual and jock: executing complex plays on the field and self-reflecting about the dualities of his life. He's our conduit to the football world, and he sees it in a unique way given his penchant for intelligent observation and buddhist leanings.

Harris does a great job to humanize Nick but not make him completely noble. As Nick makes difficult choices in his personal and professional life, I found myself getting personally invested in his situation. And the ending of the book was very satisfying, touching without being maudlin.

Kudos to Christopher Harris for crafting a wonderful story that seems familiar and fresh at the same time.

I can't wait to read his next book!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Good football story March 12, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Easy to read underdog story about a player trying to make the NFL while dealing with his own inner demons. Really picks up once the game action starts. Would recommend it to any football fan.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good read February 26, 2013
By Tom
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Reminds me of hard knocks training camp show on HBO. It's a good, fun book to read on your lunch if you're into football.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Fun read November 5, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A great book for sports fans with a brain. Very clever but brutal at the same time. You will cheer for Mouse!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly good November 4, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
I was ready for a football-driven book that I would enjoy, because I love the sport. I wasn't ready for how strong and tight the prose would be, how engaging the characters would be and how interesting the themes beyond football would be. Well done!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Took the joy of the touchdowns and the crunch of the tackles...
Great writing--a bittersweet look at the life of a pint-sized pro football underdog through one delirious season. I love what Christopher Harris has done here. Read more
Published on December 7, 2011 by sam_capricorn
5.0 out of 5 stars It's a lean mean read
Slotback Rhapsody is Chris Harris' first novel and he's off to a great start. With a clear voice, he brings the reader deeply into the world of professional football and explores... Read more
Published on December 6, 2011 by arlie
5.0 out of 5 stars A Slobberknocker of a Literary Novel
"Slotback Rhapsody" explores just what gets detached from whom when Buddhism collides with NFL football in the person of Nick "Mouse" Morrison. Read more
Published on November 18, 2011 by Jeff Hebert
4.0 out of 5 stars Insightful and funny football-themed novel
(Actually written by Bill Childs, Dena's husband.)

Slotback Rhapsody is an intelligent and provocative look at an undersized but savvy football player, who's made it... Read more
Published on November 15, 2011 by Dena Childs
5.0 out of 5 stars Great gift and great read
I may be slightly biased but I think that Christopher Harris' debut novel will make the perfect gift for both the sports fan on your list and any fan of a great read!
Published on November 15, 2011 by fredi harris
4.0 out of 5 stars Best of both worlds
ESPN columnist Christopher Harris' debut novel Slotback Rhapsody is a page turning delight. Professional football from an insider's perspective. Read more
Published on November 14, 2011 by Alan Vogel
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More About the Author

Christopher has published stories in such literary journals as Washington Square, LIT, News from the Republic of Letters and Slush Pile. He also writes and appears on television for ESPN. He's currently blogging at TheBigClear.tumblr.com, engaging in discussions about Austin, Easter eggs in his novel The Big Clear, and a neo-noir film festival. On Twitter, you can follow him @CHarrisESPN.


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