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Bookmuse: Playing the Moldovans at Tennis

December 30, 2011

Playing the Moldovans at Tennis by Tony Hawks is the story of Hawks’ attempt to a win a bet. A bet, which, to any sane person, would sound utterly ridiculous: that he could beat all of the players that were on the field for the Moldovan national soccer team, in tennis (one on one). Why this bet, of all things? As he and his buddy were watching the game on TV, they decided to debate if athletic ability wins out over skill and knowledge of a game. As Mr. Hawks used to play tennis at a very low competitive level, he was adamant that he could beat athletic individuals, like these soccer players, at his game. So adamant that he was willing to agree to stripping naked and singing the Moldovan national anthem if he wasn’t able to beat all 11 players. Pretty daring, but somewhat expected – Mr. Hawks wrote one book previously, Round Ireland with a Fridge, where apparently he walked around Ireland while carrying a fridge, also on a bet.

I wasn’t really sure what the expect when picking up the book, but I found a nice easy reading, quite humorous (Mr. Hawks is a comedian by trade) story. What was even more impressive to me was how he captured the feeling of the ex-Soviet Union so well. In particular, throughout the novel appear his host family that he lived with and their story of warming up to him. It perfectly mirrors what I have been told, and somewhat experienced in Russia, of Russian/ex-soviet union citizens being very hard to get to open up, but when you do, they are amazing and dependable friends. That seems to have been the author’s experience as well.

Overall, I’d recommend the book to someone looking for an easy read dealing with the former Soviet Union. It won’t be life-changing, but you’ll enjoy it and think about it for some time afterwords.

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