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Shoeless Joe (novel)

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Shoeless Joe is a fantasy novel by W. P. Kinsella. It became much better known because of its film adaptation, Field of Dreams.

Plot summaryEdit

Ray Kinsella lives and farms in Iowa with his wife Annie and five-year-old daughter Karin, but privately is obsessed with the beauty and history of American baseball, and the plight of his hero Shoeless Joe Jackson and the "Black Sox" of the 1919 World Series. When he hears a voice telling him to build a baseball field in the midst of his corn crop, in order to give his hero a chance at redemption, he blindly follows instructions and the field becomes a conduit to the spirits of baseball legend. Soon he's off on a cross-country trip to ease the pain of another hero, reclusive writer J.D. Salinger, as part of a journey the Philadelphia Inquirer called "not so much about baseball as it is about dreams, magic, life, and what is quintessentially American."

Characters in Shoeless JoeEdit

  • Ray Kinsella
  • Richard Kinsella, identical twin brother of Ray
  • Annie Kinsella, wife of Ray
  • Karin Kinsella, daughter of Ray and Annie
  • Mark, Ray's brother-in-law
  • Eddie Scissons, who originally owned Ray's farm and claimed to be the oldest living Chicago Cub
  • J. D. Salinger, the author of The Catcher in the Rye
  • Archibald "Moonlight" Graham, a baseball player who never had a chance at bat in the majors, who then later became a doctor
  • Shoeless Joe Jackson, a baseball player who was among 8 Chicago White Sox accused of being paid to throw the 1919 World Series.

Major themesEdit

  • Redemption
  • Father-and-son bond (bond between Ray and his father)
  • Dreams
  • Unexplained magic
  • New-found life
  • Religion

Allusions/references from other worksEdit

Allusions/references to actual history and current scienceEdit

The character Moonlight Graham was a real baseball player, whom the author found while looking through The Baseball Encyclopedia. The background of the character is based on his true life, with a few factual liberties taken for artistic reasons.

Awards and nominationsEdit

Shoeless Joe is the winner of the 1983 Books in Canada First Novel Award and a Houghton Mifflin Literary Fellowship.

Film or TV adaptationsEdit

Shoeless Joe was later adapted into a screenplay for the film Field of Dreams by Phil Alden Robinson.

Trivia Edit

  • The working title of the book was Dream Field, but the publisher renamed the work Shoeless Joe.

Release detailsEdit

Sources, references, external links, quotationsEdit

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