Javier Marias mused that the typical soccer fan partakes in sport as a weekly return to childhood: full of wonderment, and enthralled by heroes engaged in contests with no gray areas, only clear winners and losers. Juan Villoro replies: "In his or her lesser moments, the football fan is an ogling imbecile, mouth full of pie, head full of useless information." This is a sports book that appeals to the cynical temperament of the most jaded fan (so I loved it, of course). God is Round explores with a jaundiced and unblinking eye the players, fans and history of the world's most popular obsession. Villoro revels in the telling details, for example the notoriously histrionic and melodramatic Argentine great Diego Maradona (author of what is considered by many to be the greatest goal ever scored - 'the goal of the century' - and also the most infamous cheat ever perpetrated - 'the hand of God' - both in the same game): "On the island of the pitch, Maradona showed exemplary humility; away from it, he exploded like a dramatic supernova". Sports writing doesn't get any better than this.— Conrad Silverberg
A brilliant, kaleidoscopic exploration of soccer--and the passion, hopes, rivalries, superstitions, and global solidarity it inspires--from Juan Villoro, "Mexico's top f tbol expert" (NBC News). On a planet where FIFA has more members than the United Nations and the World Cup is watched by more than three billion people, football is more than just a game. As revered author Juan Villoro argues in this passionate and compulsively readable tribute to the world's favorite sport, football may be the most effective catalyst for panglobal unity at the time when we need it most. (Following global consensus, Villoro uses "football" rather than "soccer" in the book.) What was the greatest goal of all time? Why do the Hungarians have a more philosophical sense of defeat than the Mexicans? Do the dead play football? In essays ranging from incisive and irreverent portraits of Maradona, Messi, Ronaldo, Pel , Zidane, and many more giants of the game to entertaining explorations of left-footedness and the number 10, Juan Villoro dissects the pleasure and pain of football fandom. God Is Round is a book for both fanatics and neophytes who long to feel the delirium of the faithful.
About the Author
Juan Villoro is Mexico's most prolific, prize-winning author, playwright, journalist, and screenwriter. His books have been translated into multiple languages; he has received the Herralde Award in Spain for his novel El testigo, the Antonin Artaud award in France for Los culpables. His novel, Arrecife, was recently short-listed for the Rezzori Prize in Italy. Villoro lives in Mexico City and is a visiting lecturer at Yale and Princeton universities. Thomas Bunstead's translations from the Spanish include work by Eduardo Halfon and Yuri Herrera, Aixa de la Cruz's story "True Milk" in Best of European Fiction, and the forthcoming A Brief History of Portable Literature by Enrique Vila-Matas (a co-translation with Anne McLean). A guest editor of a Words Without Borders feature on Mexico (March 2015), Thomas has also published his own writing in the Times Literary Supplement, The Independent, the Paris Review blog, 3ammagazine, Days of Roses, readysteadybook, and >kill author.