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Far Afield: A Sportswriting Odyssey Hardcover – Bargain Price, September 1, 2007
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From Publishers Weekly
Price, a senior writer at Sports Illustrated for 13 years and author of Pitching Around Fidel: A Journey into the Heart of Cuban Sports, finds his past in the most unfamiliar places when he moves to the south of France to report on European sports for a year. Inside his coverage of every new competition in every new city lurks Price's profoundly American self-consciousness. Lambasted at every turn for Bush's war on terror, Price's American identity is formed defensively as he spars with European opponents over the war, politics and history. Luckily, Price couldn't be further removed from the ugly American stereotype. He's perceptive, open-minded and intelligent, transcribing Europe with the confident, lofty lyricism of an American sportswriter who has found his voice. His metaphors hit the mark, whether summing up the doping accusations against Lance Armstrong, eating eggs with Ted Williams, experiencing the fanaticism of the India-Pakistan cricket rivalry, exploring Europe's obsession with soccer or sitting down with prospective NBA centers from the former Eastern bloc. Price is aware that the biggest action has a way of following him wherever he goes. Indeed, his memoir is a stroll through a minefield of recent European headlines—the train bombings in Madrid, the Le Pen vote scare in France and the 2004 Athens Olympics. The personal becomes political and the political gets personal in this travel memoir, as national identities and sports collide. (Sept.)
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Top Customer Reviews
The travelogue is your typical Innocent Abroad themed descriptions peppered with humorous anecdotes. This was better done by Twain. The sports stories went a lot deeper than what Price did at SI. This was the original intent of his adventures in Europe afterall: write more in depth about non-American sports. And it was very well done, Price is a great writer.
There are basically two things that strikes me. One is the confessional aspect of this book: he lays out all the unpleasantness in his life and he lays it out bluntly. He chastises himself for his own perceived blindspots and shortcomings. A major theme is how he deals with his families -the one he has with his wife and the one he was born into- during this short trip and for all of his life.
The circumstances, travel and personal confessional, reminds me of Elizabeth Gilbert's book Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia. Her's has more food, meditation, and sex , his has more sports. Much like her book, the reader gets drawn into his thought process, his pain and suffering, and his moments of transcendance. I am not all that sure that the milieu of Europe and sports writing quite did the same thing for Price as Italy, India, and Bali did for Gilbert.
The other revelation is the process of writing. When Price had his a-ha moment about writing in his own words about his own thought, the thought became a double edged sword: it was both obvious and illuminating at the same time.
Price's thought cycle involving Michael Jordan was interesting and yet also banal. I had guessed at what Jordan was about years ago, the portrait that Price painted revealed nothing new. But I did learn about Pakistani and Indian cricketers, Greek track doping scandal, skiing, Wimbledon, the Athens Olympics and just how paranoid the Greeks are.
This is not a sit down and read book. There sections of that, but there are plenty of sit down and contemplate sections too. It is not an easy book to read, but it is well worth the effort.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Way back in 2003, S.L. Price was looking for something of a new challenge, a little adventure in his life.Read more