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Sunday, January 20, 2008

BOOK: "Far Afield," by S.L. Price (Lyons Press, $24.95)

TARGET AUDIENCE: People clicking between ESPN and the Travel Channel.

To Price, sportswriting infuses "the seemingly unimportant act of hitting a puck, a ball, or a face with a fist with something approaching significance." And there's no denying the significance of a cricket match between India and Pakistan, for example, where everyone is on edge that something might happen, and what happens is . . . extreme graciousness and courtesy.

Moving from Washington to Europe for Sports Illustrated, Price joins (but never quite blends with) expat Americans who have "hit the lifestyle lottery." Many of the essays appear to have been written stateside, though, and squeezing some of them into this otherwise overseas-focused book doesn't always work. But if sports exists to give fans "a chance to lose themselves," well, so do Price's well-crafted narratives.

-- Jerry V. Haines

© 2008 The Washington Post Company