Monday, 14 June 2010

The Big One - England v. USA

But what you really want to know is who we choose to represent England and USA - certainly the two World Cup Nations offering us the widest choice of potential bookish representatives. With the luxury of choice we added a criterion to our decision-making - we tried to pick not just a slim excellent novel but a slim excellent novel with a sporty undertone.

With that, the English choice made itself. The quintessentially English J.L.Carr once wrote a novel of sportsmanship and success against-all-odds. A tale of plucky wannabes somehow clawing their way to unfeasible heights in the beautiful game. "How Steeple Sinderby Wanderers Won the FA Cup" is that novel and, let's face it, it's looking like we're going to need miracles akin to village teams snatching major trophies to see England progress.

And their opponents? One of the great unsung heroes of C20 American literature, John Fante with his tale of a young man yearning to become a baseball star and so break away from his penniless small-town Colorado existence. A brilliant novella which if the books weren't reliant on the results of their football playing compatriots would be a real contender for victory.

Result: Carr 1 Fante 1. As predicted Fante punches above his weight and Carr proves just a little too sporting.

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