Playing the Moldovans at Tennis Hardcover – 1 Jun 2001
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Tony Hawks' debut book, The Round Ireland with a Fridge, was an irreverent satire. The topic of the sequel is even more absurd. Like Round Ireland, it supposedly originates from an obscure bet. This time, Hawks bets he can't track-down the Moldovan football team and beat them all at tennis. The loser must perform the Moldovan national anthem naked on Balham High Road. However, knowledge of tennis and/or football isn't required to enjoy the book.
Hawks' Irish trip was characterised by willing accomplices who joined in the fun. In Moldova, Hawks also expects a good laugh. Despite the rarity of visitors, he receives an apathetic welcome as his mission provokes little more than weak smiles. Tracking down the footballers and persuading them to play turns becomes almost impossible.
The book treads a fine line between brilliant and juvenile, between Jeremy Beadle and the genuinely witty. Hawks' sixth-form joke of presenting a round table to Moldova's new King Arthur is especially cringe-worthy. His experience as a second-division stand-up leads to innumerable trite quips. Still, overall Playing The Moldovans At Tennis is an entertaining, easy read that will make you chuckle. It provides an interesting view of Eastern Europe's post-Communist life, while keeping you in suspense: Will he? Won't he? Suffice to say that, yes, at the end of the book someone does end up naked and singing outside a South London Woolworths. --Sarah Champion --
"Hawks's comedic talent comes across well in the written form...he has a breezy, witty style that makes the book extremely enjoyable...Hawks is not only a crazy comic but a keen observer of the human experience." - "The San Francisco Chronicle"
"This is an extremely entertaining book...A real treat for fans of the weird, the silly, and the out-of-left-field." - "Booklist" (starred review)
"[Hawks's] account of his travels to Moldova, Transnistria, Northern Ireland, and Israel to track down those worthy opponents may remind some readers of Bill Bryson, except that Hawks is genuinely funny and doesn't have to reach to get a laugh." - "Kirkus Reviews"
Hawks's comedic talent comes across well in the written form...he has a breezy, witty style that makes the book extremely enjoyable...Hawks is not only a crazy comic but a keen observer of the human experience. "The San Francisco Chronicle"
This is an extremely entertaining book...A real treat for fans of the weird, the silly, and the out-of-left-field. "Booklist (starred review)"
[Hawks's] account of his travels to Moldova, Transnistria, Northern Ireland, and Israel to track down those worthy opponents may remind some readers of Bill Bryson, except that Hawks is genuinely funny and doesn't have to reach to get a laugh. "Kirkus Reviews"" --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
He certainly takes his bets to heart does the guy and never shirks from his (drunken!!) promises. But how the heck do you go about arranging something like that? Read this book and find out - Funny, interesting and completely readable.
You will be perched on the end of your seat as you find out whether or not he reaches his goal and win the bet (much more exciting than many a thriller read) - another absolute must read book.
What is his next bet? ....... I am afraid I can only guess, but it will probably include alcohol somewhere along the line!!! and possibly a bathroom appliance - the mind boggles!!!!!!!!
Within 2 pages, I was hooked by the intriguing bet, and made sure I had the book open at every opportunity.
This is by far the funniest book I have read in the last year, and the way Tony Hawks effortlessly injects humour into even the most seemingly dull situation is brilliant.
Like the previous reviewer, I have ordered the "Round Ireland" book, and if it is half as entertaing as this, I won't be disappointed.
Have I mentioned brilliant yet?
Heading off to Moldova with a round plastic table, Hawks found less to be humourous about, but instead has managed to paint a picture of life in a former Soviet State that is at times disturbing and at others heartwarming. His encounter with a local mobster, and the descriptions of the state of the medical system (his Doctor host at one point is paid with a freshly-caught fish) help you understand how different - and often difficult - life is over there. The fact that Hawks has since started a Charity to take medical supplies over there speaks volumes - and that comes across in the book too.
The twist that happens in Israel helps set the book up for a rousing climax that would see a man standing trouserless in a London Street trying to sing the Moldovan National Anthem: but it's the descriptions of life in Chisnau that will stay with you the longest.
If you're expecting a no-holds barred funny account of another drunken bet - this is not for you. If however you appreciate some well-written travelogue with a twist, I recommend this highly.
Tony Hawkes is very funny and he tells his story in a very sensitve way. I loved the twist at the end which completed this story perfectly. I will be reading his other books asap.
Tony does not talk about himself constantly, as a previous reviewer suggests. He often reflects on the sadness and desperation of the people of Moldova, and yet also how easily bonding they are once you get to know them.
His whole story is based on the fact that a seemingly futile quest can inspire hope and a little bit of light heartedness in to the hearts of those who need it most. This is a book that must be red by all. A good game.
Not realising this he berates them for their lack of enthusiasm for his project. It doesn't seem to occur to him that they maybe have more pressing concerns. An unknown foreign comedian wants to beat the national football team - at a game they don't play? He is peeved when this story doesn't really appeal to the Moldovan newspapers. The people working at the journalism centre aren't fired up either - but perhaps they are working on more important issues. He takes a white plastic round table to "King Arthur" - a joke that barely works even for a British audience but must have seemed like a monumental waste of everyone's time in Moldova. Which indeed it was. And then he caps it by telling them all they have the wrong attitude to life. I think he was lucky to escape physical violence.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Humerous account of a westerner in eastern Europe. Not really so much about tennis as the differences and similarities across cultures. Glad I read it.Published 8 months ago by S. E. Wilson
As a Romanian I must say this is a very honest and accurate representation of Romania and Moldova in the 90s. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Andrei S.
Really enjoyable read with fantastic twists throughout and a wonderful ending. What an unselfish contribution to make to those in need. Very well written, well done again Tony.Published 17 months ago by Paul
Tony Hawks is a funny guy. After all, he is a comedian, and comedians tend to have to be funny. But in recent years, he’s progressed from being “funny ha-ha” to being possibly a... Read morePublished 18 months ago by Mr. Iain R. Wear
Maybe it is a bit more than a giggle: it does often go beyond a giggle and right into proper laughter territory. Read morePublished on 25 April 2014 by Sasha
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