After All, It's Only a Game

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Willie Morris. SIGNED. After All, It's Only a Game. With art by Lynn Green Root. Jackson and London: University Press of Mississippi, [1992]. First edition, first printing.

Perhaps better than any other writer Willie Morris can evoke the fleeting era of placid southern summers and simple truths, a halcyon season before television imprisoned our lives. This collection of sports stories, a mixture of fiction and memoir, restores that evanescent time for an hour or so. Each story focuses locally upon details that figure in a larger landscape and in the bigger game. This is a book that not only will entertain but also will open floodgates of memory. "It's about time passing," Morris says, "and about the way a writer looks back on those days. About the vulnerabilities of being young. About the pain and the fear and the adventure - don't leave that out. And about wanting to be a hero, if only for a moment." In these poignant, sometimes rollicking, stories of youth and athletics the games of football, baseball, and basketball provide the arenas for the tests that youth must endure. Morris captures elusive, keenly sensed feelings that rise from recollection and establishes himself in that stream of distinguished American writers whose sports stories illuminate the human conditions of fear, courage, loneliness, and victory in defeat. "Sports were so much apart of my growing up, of my becoming a man, that they are now apart of me," Morris says. In a foreword Rick Cleveland, a columnist for the Jackson Clarion-Ledger, gives insight into Willie Morris's love of athletics. Lynn Green Root's ten vivid illustrations capture the moods and feelings of Morris's stories, and both author and artist revive again for the reader that timeless period which youth feels will last forever and which adults mourn as the best years of their lives.

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