Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Soccer fans take note

As the European Soccer Championship gets under way, Slate rounds up a a bunch of sites to help you keep on top of things and also provides some literary selections for those who can't get enough of the game. One in particular caught my eye:

A more serious read is Soccer in Sun and Shadow by Uruguayan novelist Eduardo Galeano. Originally published in 1998, it is an eloquent, occasionally bombastic love letter to the game, comprising dozens of short essays with titles like "The Language of Soccer Doctors" and "The Perfect Kiss Would Like To Be Unique." Galeano has a fatalistic, purist take on the sport: "The history of soccer is a sad voyage from beauty to duty. When the sport became an industry, the beauty that blossoms from the joy of play got torn out by its very roots." But there is joyful play in Galeano's writing about great players and great goals, even in these fallen times. Of Italian striker Roberto Baggio, a star of the 1980s and '90s, Galeano says, "His legs have a mind of their own, his foot shoots by itself. … Baggio is a big horsetail that flicks away opponents as he flows forward in an elegant wave."


Sarah Rettger said...

I haven't read Soccer in Sun and Shadow, but I'll enthusiastically second any recommendation of Galeano. He (and his translators) do amazing things with language.

Colleen said...

This book really sounds appealing to me and I think I'll add it to my Christmas list. Thanks for seconding the rec of Galeano - it has pushed me off the fence on getting a copy!