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Slotback Rhapsody by [Harris, Christopher]
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Slotback Rhapsody Kindle Edition

4.7 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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Length: 268 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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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: 814 KB
  • Print Length: 268 pages
  • Publication Date: October 24, 2011
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005ZJVAP0
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,185,935 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
"Slotback Rhapsody" explores just what gets detached from whom when Buddhism collides with NFL football in the person of Nick "Mouse" Morrison.

Author Christopher Harris is perhaps best known for his insightful analysis of fantasy football for ESPN, but don't let that put you off -- this guy can flat-out write, and this is absolutely a literary novel first and foremost, two parts J.D. Salinger's "Catcher in the Rye" to one part Peter Gent's "North Dallas Forty", with a distinctive voice all its own. I laughed out loud at several passages, and felt deeply for Morrison's struggles as he tries to figure out how to keep his identity while also doing what it takes to make it in The Show.

Any thinking-man's fan with a love of the game will find themselves drawn into the characters as well as the action, both of which Harris writes deftly and convincingly. I couldn't put it down, and was angry when I got to the end and there wasn't any more to read. Ironically, the Thursday Night game was on in the background towards the end, and I genuinely found myself thinking more about the men beneath the helmets and what they might be thinking or feeling because of "Slotback Rhapsody". I found it enhanced my appreciation for the game, which is a pretty remarkable achievement in itself.

If you like good writing and/or the soul-satisfying action on NFL Sundays, do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of this excellent novel.

For the Kindle edition, there were a few unfortunate copy-editing mistakes in the first 20% or so, but nothing that was overly distracting or that hampered the enjoyment of the fine writing. I'm sure they will be corrected in following editions, and I mention it here only to encourage the persnickety reader to overlook them as they are minor and quickly taper off.
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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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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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Format: Kindle Edition
(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 into camp a number of times but never onto a regular season squad, as he takes one last shot at making it big. And he does, finally, make it on a team -- and with that achievement comes complications, including the temptation of performance-enhancing drugs, the potential return of his girlfriend, and his new friend (and dealer)'s involvement with sports gambling.

The book is chock full o' inside-football details, but isn't by any means only for serious fans. The characters are compelling, the writing efficient (and often hilarious), and the story moves quickly. If you've ever thought about the compromises professional athletes have to make, this is a thoughtful exploration of those compromises packaged within a great story.
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