Novels and tennis -
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 12-13-2005, 03:25 PM Thread Starter
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Novels and tennis

I'm reading a Wodehouse collection right now, and thanks to Bingo Little and others, tennis is referenced quite a few times. Was wondering if there are any other writers out there--good ones--whose works mention tennis or tennis games.

And please don't say D.F Wallace. God knows I've tried but "Infinite Jest" isn't my cup of tea right now.
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 12-13-2005, 11:34 PM
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Re: Novels and tennis

"Money" by Martin Amis - there's a great description of a tennis match in that..
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 12-14-2005, 12:12 PM
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Re: Novels and tennis

I have Martin Amis's "Money" coming up next on my pile. I was already looking forward to it, now even more so. I did read Infinite Jest, you can skip the non tennis parts when you want, lol. A novel to add, good, not great, "Crooked Little Heart" by Annie Lamott, about a kid who cheats...googled and found this:
TENNIS NOVELS: My last list of tennis novels resulted in 100% sales! I was cleaned out, and restocking has not been easy. Here are some repeats and some first timers.
79: "The Big Silver Bowl" by Philip Harkins; 1st USA edition of 1947; 218 pp in a super dust-wrapper. This is one that I did not know existed until recently. The hero, a football player, turns to tennis and after endless trials and tribulations helps his country to win the Davis Cup. £135
80: "Break Point" by Jeremy Burnham; 1st edition of 1982; 188 pp in DW (8vo). This is about young Barry and his struggles on the road to becoming a successful tennis player. £15
81: "The Finalists" by Russell Braddon; 1st edition of 1977; 224 pp in DW (8vo). This is about an amazingly long Wimbledon men's final. The excitement builds through the fifth set. £20
82: "First Serve" by Mary Towne; 1st USA edition of 1976; 214 pp in DW. This copy is ex-lib. Sixteen year-old Dulcie becomes a tennis player and sets her sights on the top. £20
83: "The Good Loser" by E. Richard Schayer; 1st USA edition of 1917; 59 pp in hardboards. The boy Billy is taken on by the coach Kendrick who makes him a good tennis player. This is an exceptionally early tennis novel from the USA and it even has its tissue guard at the front. £225
84: "Match Point for Murder" by Kin Platt; 1st USA edition of 1975; 185 pp in DW. The sub-title is: "A new Max Roper mystery in which murder calls set point." That says it all really. £30
85: "The Net" by Ilie Nastase; 1st edition of 1987; 254 pp in DW (8vo). Following on from "Tie-Break", (see 90 below), here are more exotic tour happenings experienced by the author. £18
86: "The Promising Young Men" by George Sklar; 1st USA edition of 1951; 304 pp in DW. Another superb dustwrapper encloses a rare tennis novel in which Steve Kropa strives to become a top tournament player but as ever it fails to bring him true happiness. £95
87: "Proudly She Serves" by Helen Hull Jacobs; 1st USA edition of 1952; 214 pp in DW (8vo). This is sub-tilted: "The realistic story of a tennis champion who became a Wave." Jacobs was a Commander in the USNR and she excelled at tennis fiction. The dustwrapper shows her in uniform. This copy is beautifully inscribed by her and dated June 1953. £175
88: "Tennis Shoes" by Noel Streatfield; 5th impression of 1952; 215 pp in nice DW. This is the most famous of all English tennis novels, being a charming family story of the late 1930's. £75
89: "The Tennis Terror and Other Tennis Stories" by Harold M. Sherman; 1st USA edition of 1932; 244 pp in DW (8vo). The dustwrapper is a classic of 1930's design. The six tennis stories range from tales about champions to tales about tennis novices, all pleasantly written. £125
90: "Tie-Break" by Ilie Nastase; 1st edition of 1986; 273 pp in DW (8vo). One could be forgiven for thinking the many on and off court experiences described here reflect Ilie's tennis life! £20
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 12-14-2005, 12:17 PM
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Re: Novels and tennis

If you know your german then there's this book im reading at the moment: "Die Strudlhofstiege" by austrian author Heimito von Doderer. strange title and strange author-name, but it's a good book with tennis-references here and there.
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 12-14-2005, 01:49 PM
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Re: Novels and tennis

on the same google I see there is a graphic Novel all about tennis, many volumes, out of Japan called "The Prince of Tennis"

and from Sweden:
The Tennis Players - novel, 1977 (Tennisspelarna, trans. Yvonne I. Sandström (1984))

and one more, lol
Tightly Strung

By Lionel Shriver.
317 pp. New York:
Doubleday. $22.95.


nlike America's lively tradition of sports reporting, sports fiction remains a somnolent subgenre. Much of it, as Nabokov observed of pornography, is little more than a coupling of cliches. Yet Homo ludens, or man at play, constitutes a powerful literary theme, as any reader can see from Hemingway's bullfighting stories, Mark Harris's baseball novels or John Irving's wrestling scenes.

From the first paragraph of ''Double Fault,'' her sixth novel, Lionel Shriver shows that she aspires to the company of such authors and understands that style separates them from the also-rans. ''The serve was into the sun, which at its apex the tennis ball perfectly eclipsed,'' she writes. ''A corona blazed on the ball's circumference, etching a ring on Willy's retina that would blind-spot the rest of the point.''

Wilhemena (Willy) Novinsky, ranked 437 on the Women's Tennis Association computer, has a few years of college behind her and is older and wiser than the precocious teen-agers who dominate the circuit -- and are dominated, in turn, by parents, agents and events. Eric Oberdorf, a boyfriend who is also a tennis pro, tells Willy: ''No tennis dad, no bulimia, and you're not overweight. Too good to be true.'' A Princeton grad from a privileged family, Eric is a natural athlete who didn't pick up a racquet until the age of 18. He is so in awe of Willy that after she beats him, 6-2, 6-1, in one contest, he proposes marriage.

But Willy has a blind spot bigger and more carcinogenic than the sun. Her life is governed by a reductive Cartesian equation: I play tennis, therefore I am. She's smart enough to know better, but Willy feels inseparable from her ranking; her happiness depends on a number and, ultimately, she can't love unless she's winning. Although Eric ranks 972 when they meet, his standing rises remorselessly while hers sinks. Before long, he's beating the top men while she, struck down by insecurity and injury, falls below 1,000 and, consequently, off the computer charts completely. The marriage similarly plunges into crisis as Willy's court failure calls into question her very identity.

Some of the plot twists are schematic and strain credibility. Willy's self-esteem depends on her ability to repeat her prenuptial victories over Eric. But anybody who has played the game as long as Willy would know that even a low-ranked man like Eric could easily beat the top-seeded woman. It's implausible that Willy would beat him in the first place, and more so that she would then spiral into self-destruction when she loses to him.

But perhaps that's the nature of tragedy: Willy understands her predicament, yet is powerless to change it. While a less ambitious author might have taken Willy's plight and turned it into an uplifting tale about overcoming adversity or exchanging failure for a caring, sharing relationship, Shriver explores the obsessive side of Willy's character and confronts some disconcerting truths that defy a pat, politically correct resolution. Although nurture is the logic behind all sports training, nature cannot be ignored. At 5 feet 3 and 108 pounds, Willy is physically no match for Eric. She also believes that she's at a psychological disadvantage. A male player who got stabbed by a fan, a la Monica Seles, she observes, wouldn't be traumatized, but would be eager to get back in the game. ''He'd be angry,'' she says.

Never completely comfortable with her competitiveness, Willy turns her rage against herself, and inevitably it splashes onto Eric. She roots for his opponents, refuses to applaud his victories, cuts his strings and even cracks his head open with a racquet. Nothing -- not Eric's abiding love, not the advice of her family and therapist, nor recognition of her ruinous envy -- helps. When she begins debating whether to abort her baby, the games are finished, and with Willy's unpredictable decision, Shriver shows in a masterstroke why character is fate and how sport reveals it.

Michael Mewshaw has covered the men's and women's tennis tours in ''Short Circuit'' and ''Ladies of the Court'' and has written a tennis novel, ''Blackballed,'' among other books.
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 12-14-2005, 06:17 PM
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Re: Novels and tennis

Dutch author Mart Smeets wrote a book 'Netwerk' (Network) which is about a tennis player It's in fact a tennis novel. Never read it though


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