Book Review: strange bOUnce -- sport fiction
Quantum physics, mind travel, Sherlock Holmes…this is by no means your average sportsbook! Martin Palazzotto’s excellent collection of tales, ‘strange bOUnce’, offers a fresh and unique way of looking at sport.
Author: Martin Palazzotto
Date Published: 2017
Price: £7.49 paperback, £2.27 ebook
Through a series of 15 short stories, a wide range of sport is covered, from boxing to poker, American football to cricket. However, it is football, or soccer to our American friends, that takes the lead with ten stories focusing on various aspects of the beautiful game.
The story about the phrase ‘selling a dummy’ is clever. The one on making the transition from player to manager thought-provoking. The tale of fit and proper ownership hard hitting.
For me, though, ‘Eats, Shoots, and Leaves’, a story about a Newcastle United fan reluctantly swapping St James Park for New York, represents a common theme throughout the whole book. It is the cultural clashes between fans of different sports, yet at the same time the common bond, passion, and connection they share. This is the very essence of ‘strange bOUnce’ and central to much of Palazzotto’s writing. It examines sport from a perspective unlike any other sports book.
Palazzotto really lets his imagination run wild, inviting the reader to do the same. From the names of characters involved to the fascinating angle at which he covers some of the topical issues that surround football. The descriptive detail and ability to bring these characters to life in the readers head are two of Palazzotto’s greatest strengths. The people are personable and there is a light-hearted touch to the stories' often serious messages.
There is even a classic ‘whodunnit’. ‘strange BOUnce' contains something to appeal to all readers. It is not a book purely for sports fans, but would be a must read for a much wider audience.
Some of the stories can get quite deep but that is where breaking the themes down into short and distinct tales really helps. The very reason why short stories are so popular. Try not to get too engrossed while reading. Absorb the narrative and wait for the plots to unravel. By the end of each story, you will have many thoughts in your head and opinions formed on the topic covered.
There are dozens of factual books saturating the massive football market. Biographies, statistics, facts, and figures. Books that cover a player’s career or a team’s history. Yes, many are good with a story to tell but very few, if any, take Palazzotto’s approach, where science fiction and storytelling meet the structured world of sport.
Granted strange bOUnce may not be everybody’s cup of tea but it offers something different from the norm. A fresh and exciting perspective that challenges and ignites the reader in equal measure. I would encourage you to take yourself out of your comfort zone and try something completely different.
Pick it up, let your imagination run wild and enjoy the journey.