The Muse Wore a Low-Cut Blouse

W.P. Kinsella’s posthumous book reveals a writer more cynical than his famous baseball novel might suggest

William Patrick Kinsella died, at a moment of his own choosing, with the help of a physician in September 2016. Back in 1982, Kinsella published his most famous novel, the baseball tale Shoeless Joe. His folksy adult fantasy story was a writer’s home run. A laser shot, out of the yard. Kinsella’s book went through more than 30 printings in paperback in no time at all. It won the distinguished Houghton Mifflin Literary Fellowship and was adapted into the Oscar-nominated movie, Field of Dreams, starring the winningly boyish Kevin Costner. The film grossed a tasty $65 million in the United States alone. Kinsella was one Canadian writer who had left behind the dour pessimism of his home and native land for American myths of hope and redemption.

Build it and they will come.

Kinsella followed his big success with further collections of baseball stories and humorous tales about Native people outsmarting federal...