Kissing The Pink [ePub]

by Jane Holland

Competitiveness is not attractive in a woman. From a man's point of view, that is,not to mention my mother's. Men may feel admiration, even respect, for someonethey consider to be a ball breaker with all the charm of a JCB, but they rarelylike you, and even more rarely wish to sleep with you. Once you startexhibiting a tendency to beat men at their own game, they close ranks. Politicalcorrectness may drag a chilly smile out of them occasionally, but beyond that,you're on your own. Being a woman player is not a wise career option for thesqueamish or easily offended.
When Zoë began playing snooker, men thought it was a great joke—untilshe started to beat them. So they closed ranks; except for the misfit Kevin, whodidn't fit into the macho Working Men's Club society and agreed to coach whatwas an obvious talent. Everything goes well until Zoë's progress upsets hersponsor's former favourite and she is banned for bringing the game intodisrepute.

But the chauvinism of the regular circuit was only the first problem Zoë hadto face—after splitting up with her partner there was her two kids to consider, notto mention her disapproving mother and an ever-shrinking budget to finance hernew passion. Once she was on the circuit, these paled into insignificance at theside of the ice maiden Sylvie, the bitchiness of the lower ranks and the ever- complicated world of the now-unfamiliar one-night stand.

Jane Holland's first novel reflects the fortunes of its main characters—a womanauthor is almost as unfamiliar a sight in the male-dominated world of sportswriting as Zoë was in the Working Men's Clubs. But Holland takes on thecompetition with passion and style. Adopting the language of the snooker hall,she gives a vivid insight into the closed, masculine world of smoky clubs and all- night drinking sessions in a prose that is both animated and accessible. But morethan that, it is knowledgeable—Holland is not a woman with time on her handswho likes to shoot a few balls now and again. As a former champion snookerplayer who achieved world ranking, she certainly knows her stuff and readers willlearn as much about the techniques as the morals of the snooker hall. This is avery welcome addition to that all-too-sparse genre: good sportsfiction. —Lucie Naylor

Jane Holland is also author of A Brief History of aDisreputable Woman and a Gregory Award Winner.

30.11.2013

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