book cover of Kissing the Pink
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Kissing the Pink

A novel by

Competitiveness is not attractive in a woman. From a man's point of view, that is, not to mention my mother's. Men may feel admiration, even respect, for someone they consider to be a ball breaker with all the charm of a JCB, but they rarely like you, and even more rarely wish to sleep with you. Once you start exhibiting a tendency to beat men at their own game, they close ranks. Political correctness may drag a chilly smile out of them occasionally, but beyond that, you're on your own. Being a woman player is not a wise career option for the squeamish or easily offended.

When Zoë began playing snooker, men thought it was a great joke--until she started to beat them. So they closed ranks; except for the misfit Kevin, who didn't fit into the macho Working Men's Club society and agreed to coach what was an obvious talent. Everything goes well until Zoë's progress upsets her sponsor's former favourite and she is banned for bringing the game into disrepute.

But the chauvinism of the regular circuit was only the first problem Zoë had to face--after splitting up with her partner there was her two kids to consider, not to mention her disapproving mother and an ever-shrinking budget to finance her new passion. Once she was on the circuit, these paled into insignificance at the side of the ice maiden Sylvie, the bitchiness of the lower ranks and the ever- complicated world of the now-unfamiliar one-night stand.

Jane Holland's first novel reflects the fortunes of its main characters--a woman author is almost as unfamiliar a sight in the male-dominated world of sports writing as Zoë was in the Working Men's Clubs. But Holland takes on the competition with passion and style. Adopting the language of the snooker hall, she gives a vivid insight into the closed, masculine world of smoky clubs and all- night drinking sessions in a prose that is both animated and accessible. But more than that, it is knowledgeable--Holland is not a woman with time on her hands who likes to shoot a few balls now and again. As a former champion snooker player who achieved world ranking, she certainly knows her stuff and readers will learn as much about the techniques as the morals of the snooker hall. This is a very welcome addition to that all-too-sparse genre: good sports fiction. --Lucie Naylor

Jane Holland is also author of A Brief History of a Disreputable Woman and a Gregory Award Winner.

Genre: General Fiction

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