FanDuel - WFBC

October 09, 2004

The games writers play : Interesting article from the Guardian. There is a great tradition of novels about sport (or rather involving sport)in the US - something which doesn't seem to exist elsewhere. Why is this? Why is writing about sport seen as a lower form of writing in the rest of the English-speaking world? Hemingway, Roth, Updike - nothing lightweight about them.

posted by Pete to culture at 03:59 AM - 4 comments

I'm not sure there is such a thing as a 'sports novel'. De Lillo's 'Underworld' isn't about baseball, and neither is Malamud's 'The Natural'. Rather they use sport to show aspects of the human condition. Great fiction therefore reflects life, and although sport is never a metaphor for it, it is an important part of understanding what or who we are. Having said that - including the two noted above, it seems that my favourite books with sport in them are mostly American. However I would recommend the Uruguayan poet Eduardo Galeano's 'Football in Sun and Shadow' which is lyrical, heart-warming, funny and poignant.

posted by owlhouse at 05:56 PM on October 09

Why is writing about sport seen as a lower form of writing in the rest of the English-speaking world? Hemingway, Roth, Updike - nothing lightweight about them. It's not the writers that are small, but the subject. And there's a lot of truth to what owlhouse notes, as well.

posted by rushmc at 12:29 PM on October 10

Why write sports fiction, when sports fact can be so brilliantly entertaining if written about well? Modern tastes seem to demand at least a hint that what they're watching was "based on a true story" rather than plucked out of thin air by a writer - and not only in terms of sports writing. Reality TV is on the rise - people, it would seem, would rather watch someone sit and eat a bowl of cornflakes in complete silence for five minutes than watch some actor pretend to sit and eat a bowl of cornflakes. Sports novels to me always felt wrong - I sense that there are so many stories from the world of (real) sport that have never been told, and I'd rather hear them than read something ficticious. That said, I quite enjoyed Bagger Vance (until they made a film of it).

posted by JJ at 04:51 AM on October 11

people, it would seem, would rather watch someone sit and eat a bowl of cornflakes in complete silence for five minutes What show was this? Did I miss it? I so need Tivo. You guys are right; great sports fiction is rarely if ever about the sport itself. It's just a backdrop that maybe (North*) American writers use more than other cultures to talk about their particular grinding-axe or facet of the human condition or whichever.

posted by chicobangs at 08:22 AM on October 11

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