by Jean-Philippe Toussaint
translated by Shaun Whiteside
Rutgers University Press, 2019
Paper: 978-1-9788-0419-7 | Cloth: 978-1-9788-0420-3 | eISBN: 978-1-9788-0472-2
Library of Congress Classification PQ2680.O86+
Dewey Decimal Classification 796.334

Growing up in Belgium, soccer was Jean-Philippe Touissant’s life, a passion not shared by his bookish family. Now an acclaimed novelist, essayist, and filmmaker, he reflects upon his lifelong love for the game with an intellectual’s keen mind and a sports fan’s heart. What, he ponders, has a lifetime of soccer fandom taught him about life and the passage of time itself.
Soccer takes readers on an idiosyncratic journey that delves deep into the author’s childhood memories, but also transports us to World Cup matches in Japan, Germany, South Africa, and Brazil. Along the way, it kicks around such provocative questions as: How does soccer fandom both support and transcend nationalism? How are our memories of soccer matches both collective and distinctly personal? And how can a game this beautiful and this ephemeral be adequately captured in words?
Part travelogue, part memoir, and part philosophical essay, Soccer is entirely unique, a thrilling departure from the usual clichés of sports writing. Even readers with little knowledge of the game will be enthralled by Touissant’s profound musings and lyrical prose.

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