I have found myself turning to audiobooks more this year, so when the opportunity arose to take part in a blog tour of Simon Barnes new book, I thought why not.
Not since Richard Ford’s classic novel, The Sportswriter, has a novel caught the world of sports journalism so vividly and so well.
No one would call David Rose – or ‘Rosie’ as he’s known to one and all – a star, but he’s good at his job and proud of his work as a sportswriter for a national newspaper. He’s used to seeing flashier talents come and go – both on the field, and in the competitive world of the press. Football comes first in the way he spends his working life, but he’s happy to pitch in whatever the sport – from Formula 1 to Test cricket in the West Indies, the Olympics to a heavyweight championship bout in Japan.
He’s used to the ups and downs of a journalist’s life and has learned to keep his own head safely down – until an especially venal boss pins his own misdemeanours on the entirely innocent Rose. He’s forced to work closely first with a frustrated poet, then with a moral puritan and then the final horror: a real woman. How will Rosie cope?
The timing of reading this book was fairly good as my husband and I are making our way through Netflix and had discovered the BBC program Press which is all about two rival newspapers so I felt in the mindset of journalism and their quirks.
I found myself really enjoying Barnes’ prose describing the main character, David Rose; his rivals and the scene of sports journalism.
Many different sports are included and I also liked the focus on foreign destinations and the descriptions of the local environments.
For someone who isn’t wild on sport, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this book.
Simon Barnes was the Chief Sports Writer for The Times until 2014, having worked for the paper for 30 years, during which he covered seven Olympic Games and six World Cup finals. He writes about sports and wildlife and is the author of over 20 books, including the best-selling How to be a Bad Birdwatcher; Epic: In Search of the Soul of Sport and Why It Matters; and Rewild Yourself: 23 Spellbinding Ways to Make Nature More Visible.
Simon Barnes commented: “It was only after I had left the asylum that I was truly aware of the madness. So I thought I’d try and write the madness before I forgot it. But I thought I’d better tone it down a bit – to make it believable.”
The Game’s Gone will be available for 1 credit to Audible members or priced at £19.99 for non-members. It joins a wealth of compelling original fiction on Audible, including Alex Callister’s Winter Dark, Michael Wood’s The Seventh Victim, Ann Morgan’s Crossing Over, K.L. Slater’s The Apartment, and Tom Bale’s The Stone Song.