In the tradition of Peter Mayle and James Dodson’s Final Rounds, Curtis Gillespie gives us a delightful and heartwarming story of people, place, and golf.
In this funny, wise, and moving book, Curtis Gillespie chronicles the year he spent with his family among the gorse and heather of Gullane, Scotland, site of this year’s Open. Gillespie had hoped to golf at Gullane with his father, who died several years before, and the memory of his father provides the catalyst for both Gillespie’s trip and the book. He writes affectionately about place, family, life, the obsessive nature of golf, and the personalities who are drawn to the sport. Along the way Curtis Gillespie discovers how much he owes his father -- and finds a rich sense of belonging among the local courses and the people who play them. Playing Through is a warm and wonderfully told memoir that transcends the boundaries of travel and sports writing.
Curtis Gillespie has received numerous awards for his fiction, including the Danuta Gleed Literary Award. His non-fiction has appeared in publications in Canada, the United States and Britain, and has earned him three National Magazine Awards. He lives in Edmonton with his wife and two daughters.
“This book offers an interesting and unique mix of golf and autobiography amid the game’s hallowed settings in Scotland . . . the descriptions tickled fond memories for me.” -- Arnold Palmer
“Gillespie's rendering of the events reminds me of Joe Fiorito's final days with his father in The Closer We are to Dying. I cried while I read that book, and Gillespie had me doing the same thing... This is a crossover book in the best sense of the genre. Golfers will find much to admire in Gillespie's descriptions of the game's "ark of the covenant" in Gullane and other courses in the area. And non-golfers will see a reporter's eye for detail and a novelist's skill for dramatic storytelling. But what might be ignored amid the fluidity of the writing is Gillespie's beautifully realized skill as a memoirist. This is writing thick with detail and dense with introspection…” -- Calgary Herald
“Playing Through is one of those special books that comes along only about as often as your favorite links course appears on the Open Rota -- an elegiac tribute to life’s most wonderful and complex game and the enduring bonds it creates, a beautifully rendered meditation on what it means to be a good son, a loving father, and lasting friend of the game. If I could recommend but one book this year -- this would be it.” -- James Dodson, author of Final Rounds
“Curtis Gillespie is a beautiful writer, with an exquisite touch reminiscent of John Updike. He can describe the ephemera of the natural world and the fragility of human relationships with the same sure hand. Playing Through is a book about golf, history, friendship and the love of family; it is compelling and evocative and memorable in the very best sense.” -- Alistair MacLeod