LONGLISTED FOR THE WILLIAM HILL SPORTS BOOK AWARD 2013
To spin or not to spin? – that is the metaphysical question.
When a mortifying defeat to his teenage son rekindles his lifelong passion for table tennis, keen philosopher Guido Mina di Sospiro sets out to learn the game properly.
Guido’s love for spinning a feather-weight ball takes him from his local ping-pong club, populated by idiosyncratic players with extraordinary stories to tell, to training drills with a world-class coach. This seemingly harmless game also leads him into sticky situations in the CIA headquarters and the ganglands of Washington, D.C. Woven throughout his ping-pong epiphany are philosophical ruminations on Plato and Aristotle, metaphysicians and empiricists, Jung’s dark shadow, Sun Tzu’s war tactics, the I Ching, and much more.
As Guido’s journey takes him from Big Sur to a nail-biting showdown in China against a string of elite players, he finds ping-pong can teach us a surprising amount about life.