All I Knew About Moldova Were The Names Of Eleven Men Printed On The Inside Back Pages Of My Newspaper None Of Them Sounded To Me Like They Were Any Good At Tennis An Eccentric Wager Finds Tony Hawks, A Man Who Loves An Unusual Challenge, Bound For The Little Known Eastern European State Of Moldova His Mission To Track Down Members Of The Country S Football Team And Persuade Them To Play Him At Tennis The Bizarre Quest Ultimately Has Little To Do With Tennis Or Football, But Instead Turns Into An Extraordinary Journey Involving The Moldovan Underworld, Gypsies, Chronic Power Shortages, Near Kidnap, And A Surprisingly Tender Relationship With His Host Family Follow The Fortunes Of Tony In This Hilarious And Often Moving Adventure As It Takes Him From Moldova, Onwards To Northern Ireland, Leading To An Exciting Denouement In Nazareth And The Naked Truth Of The Bet S Final Outcome

6 thoughts on “Playing the Moldovans at Tennis

  1. says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed this unusual and heart warming book While some have found Round Ireland with a Fridge even laugh out loud funny, I think it s unfair to compare them because the only thing they have in common is Tony The inherent ridiculousness of the fridge carrying situation contained so much potential for comedy, and I imagine that with hindsight he felt it had been ridiculously easy With this much challenging project, and total ignorance of the language and the entire set up, he was really plunging into the unknown.It was fascinating to hear how the rigours of life under Russian rule and subsequent hardships had made the Moldovans cultivate a carapace of apparent indifference, making them seem very stoical and unresponsive and I think Tony showed great resilience in dealing with the emotional impact of that in what was quite an isolated situation.For example there was not the support from local radio to get people interested and keep them updated, as there had been in Ireland How hard it must have been to keep going when your madcap project causes not the faintest ripple of curiosity among the population And the denouement, which I won t spoil your fun by revealing, was well worth waiting for.In a way, and I hope I m not being presumptuous, I feel that this journey was Tony s coming of age, and that the ties he eventually formed were warm, deep and as you will see enduring He has shown what a decent person he is by his ongoing support of no, I mustn t spoil it for you.Well worth reading

  2. says:

    This review is based on the 2007 edition of this book I ll get to why this is significant later Tony Hawks is an English very English comic of the light hearted rather than hard hitting type, best known for taking on bizarre bets His first, and perhaps most famous, was that he could hitchhike around the coast of Ireland within a month with a fridge This edition contains at the back the opening pages of Round Ireland with a Fridge to explain the genesis of this bet His second was that he could beat the Moldovan team at tennis Not the Moldovan tennis team if such a thing exists the Moldovan football soccer team I had read Round Ireland and the later One Hit Wonderland that he could have a Top Twenty hit anywhere in the world with a given timeframe and got Playing the Moldovans as I was going to Moldova to watch the Moldovan football team play the Republic of Ireland at football I hasten to add, not tennis There are two main strands running through this book While the tennis parts of the book are of the mildly entertaining, easy reading style of Round Ireland there is a serious side dealing with the poverty of a country emerging from communism not just financial poverty but the poverty of understandably low expectations While Moldova is still quite poor by European standards things have moved on somewhat in the near two decades since the trip was made The reason why I stressed that this was the 2007 edition of the book is that given the combination of the book s success and of the poverty he encountered in Moldova he decided to donate half of the royalties from the book to a trust fund to open a medical centre for disabled children While in Moldova he had stayed with a family where both parents were doctors I point this out as some reviewers of earlier editions of the book had accused Hawks of appearing insensitive to the plight of the Moldovan people.I found this book to be neither one thing nor the other, neither particularly funny nor particularly serious, neither particularly good nor particularly bad hence the rating.

  3. says:

    Another bet, another book After a drunken bet with Arthur Smith that he Tony Hawks couldn t play the entire Moldovan national football team at tennis, Tony Hawks sets off to play the entire Moldovan football team at tennis the title of the book says it all really Funny, warm, affectionate storytelling, but not shying away from describing the hard life the Moldovans were experiencing at the time of his visit Would thoroughly recommend.

  4. says:

    I read Round Ireland with a Fridge years ago, when my Mum leant it to me Her book club were all reading it, and although while I m not sure what a bunch of old crones would have made of it, I absolutely loved it Then a few weeks ago, whilst listening to Mr Hawks say something witty on some radio programme or other, I resolved to purchase his other literary works.This is a great book It is laugh out loud funny, and has a touching back story about relationships, friendships, the human condition and the rebirth of a nation If you like laughing, like reading, and like the two things combined, then this book would make a very sensible purchase If you like neither of these things I would recommend that you stop reading this wonderful review and get yourself to the self help section.

  5. says:

    As ever, Tony Hawks writing is delightfully humorous, and in this book, interesting to learn about Moravia, a country less well known than other European countries Great read Thoroughly enjoyed it.

  6. says:

    I ve read all the other books written by this author and this rates slightly below Round Ireland With A Fridge for humour Never having seen or heard of Tony Hawks on radio tv or the comedy circuit before buying his first offering in this genre, I was unsure whether his attempts at humourous writing would chime with mine It disappointed in some ways RIWAF was a cut above, mainly because of the many characters who added colour to the page Alas, the book failed to elicit anything but sadness about the situation at the time of the family with whom he stayed and the overall tenor of the politics of that country.Worth buying, if only to be reminded of how lucky we are to be living on the oft derided small Islands of Great Britain.