Novel set in the Dordogne
Five great books for tennis enthusiasts
27th December 2018
Five great books for tennis enthusiasts is the latest in our ‘Five great books…’ series.
Five great books for tennis enthusiasts.
With 2018 drawing to a close, the first Grand Slam tennis tournament of 2019 – the Australian Open, played out in Melbourne in the searing heat of an Aussie summer – is just a few rallies away. We take a look at a handful of books with tennis at their heart, and hope they inspire you to pick up a racket, as well as a book….
Playing the Moldovans at Tennis by Tony Hawks – set in MOLDOVA
‘All I knew about Moldova were the names of eleven men printed on the inside back pages of my newspaper. None of them sounded to me like they were any good at tennis …’
An eccentric wager finds Tony Hawks, a man who loves an unusual challenge, bound for the little-known Eastern European state of Moldova. His mission: to track down members of the country’s football team and persuade them to play him at tennis. The bizarre quest ultimately has little to do with tennis or football, but instead turns into an extraordinary journey involving the Moldovan underworld, gypsies, chronic power shortages, near kidnap, and a surprisingly tender relationship with his host family.
Follow the fortunes of Tony in this hilarious and often moving adventure as it takes him from Moldova, onwards to Northern Ireland, leading to an exciting denouement in Nazareth – and the naked truth of the bet’s final outcome …
Beautiful Country by J R Thornton – set in BEIJING, CHINA
A coming-of-age story set in modern day China centering on the friendship between an American and a Chinese boy who meet while training with Beijing’s Junior National Tennis Team.
Chase Robertson arrives in Beijing as a fourteen-year-old boy still troubled by the recent death of his older brother. He discovers a country in transition; a society in which the dual systems of Communist Era state control and an emerging entrepreneurial culture exist in paradox.
A top ranked junior tennis player in the U.S., Chase joins the practices of the Beijing National Junior Tennis Team and is immersed in the brutal, cut-throat world of Chinese sport. It is a world in which gifted children are selected at the ages of six or seven for specialized sport schools where they devote their entire youth to the pursuit of athletic excellence and are paid as professionals by the state. Athletes find themselves compelled to do anything possible to succeed—right or wrong. Those who fail to reach the pinnacle are cast aside and are left facing a desperate future without hope.
In China, Chase gains access to a culture rarely open to Westerners, and soon finds himself caught up in secrets. When his closest friend and teammate turns to him for help, Chase is faced with the dilemma of what to do when friendship, rules, and morals are in conflict.
A big-hearted debut, Beautiful Country explores a friendship against the backdrop of a quickly changing country.
Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace – set in BOSTON, USA
Somewhere in the not-so-distant future the residents of Ennet House, a Boston halfway house for recovering addicts, and students at the nearby Enfield Tennis Academy are ensnared in the search for the master copy of INFINITE JEST, a movie said to be so dangerously entertaining its viewers become entranced and expire in a state of catatonic bliss . . .
‘Wallace’s exuberance and intellectual impishness are a delight, and he has deep things to say about the hollowness of contemporary American pleasure . . . ‘
Breaking and Holding by Judy Fogarty – set in KIAWAH ISLAND, USA
For Patricia Curren, the summer of 1978 begins with a devastating discovery: an unfamiliar black pearl button in the bed she shares with her controlling husband, Jack. Seeking the courage to end her desolate marriage, Patricia spends a quiet summer alone on beautiful Kiawah Island. But when she meets Terry Sloan, a collegiate tennis player trying to go pro, their physical attraction sparks a slow burn toward obsession.
Once Patricia and Terry share closely guarded secrets from their pasts, they want more than a summer together. But their love soon fractures, as a potential sponsor takes an unusually keen interest in Terry—both on court and off. And when single, career-driven Lynn Hewitt arrives, other secrets must surface, including the one Patricia has kept from Terry all summer.
An intimate portrait of the folly of the human heart, Breaking and Holding explores buried truths that are startlingly unveiled. What’s left in their wake has the power not only to shatter lives…but to redeem them.
The Singles Game by Lauren Weisberger – set around the WORLD
Sweeping from Wimbledon to the Caribbean, from LA to mega yachts in the Med, The Singles Game is a brilliantly entertaining romp through a world where the stakes are high – and no-one plays by the rules.
When Charlotte ‘Charlie’ Silver makes a pact with the devil, infamously brutal tennis coach Todd Feltner, she finds herself catapulted into a world of stylists, private parties and secret dates with Hollywood royalty.
Under Todd it’s no more good-girl attitude: he wants warrior princess Charlie all the way. After all, no-one ever won by being nice.
Celebrity mags and gossip blogs go wild for Charlie, chasing scandal as she jets around the globe. But as the warrior princess’s star rises, both on and off the court, it comes at a high price. Is the real Charlie Silver still inside?
Imogen by Jilly Cooper – set on the RIVIERA
As a librarian, Imogen read a lot of books, but none of them covered real life on the Riviera. Her holiday with tennis ace, Nicky, and the whole glamorous coterie of journalist, playboy, photographer, was a revelation – and so was she. A prize worth winning. A wild Yorkshire rose among the thorny model girls, Cable and Yvonne, with a rare asset that they’d mislaid years ago…
But the path of a jet-set virgin in that lovely wicked world was a hard one. Imogen began to wonder if virtue really was its own reward…
Tennis Shoes by Neil Strettfeild – set in ENGLAND
Will the four Heath children continue their family tradition and become tennis champions?
The Heath kids—Nicky, David, and twins Jim and Susan—come from a long line of ace tennis players. Now their dad has decided it’s time to teach them everything he knows about the game.
The twins are the odds-on favourites to become the next champs. Susan shows a lot of promise, winning in tournaments and getting recognition, but she secretly hates the spotlight. Jim’s a good player, but prefers swimming. David, the youngest, loves to sing. Nicky could be a natural, but she’s too busy rebelling to take the sport seriously.
Who will become champion? And will it change their family forever?
Andrew for the TripFiction Team
Do you know any other books with a strong tennis theme to add to our database? Please leave your thoughts in the Comments box below, and remember that you can buy any of these books through TripFiction by clicking on the bookseller links on any book page.
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