January 7, 2009

The Five Hole Stories by Dave Bidini

Dave Bidini is quite well known in hockey literary circles. He is best known as the author of Tropic of Hockey and The Best Game You Can Name, and here in Canada we also know him for his band, the Rheostatics, and for his hockey documentary, the Hockey Nomad.

Bidini penned three other books. Baseballissimo is about baseball, while On a Cold Road is about life in a band. Both were, not surprisingly, critical and commercial successes.

But did you know Bidini had another hockey book out? Back in 2006 he released 6 fictional short stories under the title The Five Hole Stories.

Buy The Book: Amazon.ca - Amazon.com - Chapters

Here's the publisher's promo sheet on this lesser known book:

Each of the six stories in Dave Bidini’s playful, irreverent new book takes a headlong run at the hockey dressing room, and each knocks the door down. What’s happening when the door opens next is anyone’s guess.

In one story, a chronic minor-leaguer discovers the wonders—and the pitfalls—of the game in Europe, both on and off the ice. In another, an NHLer is tight with his teammate, the league’s leading goalscorer, but dreams of getting MUCH tighter. A star on a losing streak turns to a magical salve to turn his game around. A conversation between two friends yields surprising facts about Joan, everyone’s favourite female goalie. A hundred bucks is all that stands between a hockey groupie and eternal happiness in 1950s Detroit. And finally, the eponymous ’Five Hole’ itself speaks—though it never reveals all of its secrets.

Full of sex, drugs and high-sticking, each of The Five Hole Stories runs its proverbial tongue down hockey’s seamy, steamy underbelly and then finds language to tell us what it tastes like. A scintillating look at hockey with its clothes off, in six ambitious poses.

In a word, wow. Probably not quite what you were expecting. It is mostly quite humorous, with some tragedy also taking center stage. It certainly is an interesting undertaking by a proven writer not afraid to take chances.

In fact, Bidini turned this book into a theatrical play, which earned some attention and, again not surprisingly, critical acclaim.


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