Summary (Magill's Survey of American Literature, Revised Edition)
In this book, Kinsella revisits the characters from the Ermineskin series. The evolving relationship between Silas, who has become a writer, and his buddy Frank is the focus of this collection. The characters have grown since they appeared in The Fencepost Chronicles and The Miss Hobbema Pageant, but they are no less raucous. Kinsella follows his lovable misfits as they swindle their way across western Canada, generally wreaking havoc.
“Bull” chronicles Frank’s battle with the Alberta Supreme Court in a uproarious cattle-insemination case. Frank, a witty con artist, is also at the center of the title story, in which he turns a government-sponsored gospel radio show upside down. In “Miracle on Manitoba Street,” Frank again concocts an illicit scheme as he visits a Montana reservation and carves the image of the Virgin Mary into a Frigidaire, convincing the locals that it is a miracle, one that they should have to pay to see. “Dream Catcher,” one of Kinsella’s more serious stories, explores the realities of child abuse, as Silas’s twelve-year-old sister is assaulted. “Ice Man” raises questions about gender and identity, as Jason Twelve Trees tries to take part in a cooking competition while his father presses him to become a mechanic. Finally, “The Rain Birds” is a story that is deeply concerned with environmental issues, particularly the effects of corporate farming on the human and natural environment in western Canada. For the most part, critics have embraced Brother Frank’s Gospel Hour, and Other Stories, praising it for its honest portrayal of human flaws and shortcomings and calling it a showcase for the creativity of the human spirit.
Bibliography (Magill's Survey of American Literature, Revised Edition)
Asinof, Eliot. “Did Leonardo Invent the Home Run?” The New York Times, April 20, 1986, p. 15.
Batten, Jack. “Diamonds Are for Evers.” Books in Canada 15 (August/September, 1986): 20.
Cochran, Robert W. “A Second Cool Papa: Hemingway to Kinsella and Hays.” Arete: The Journal of Sport Literature 4, no. 2 (Spring, 1987): 27-40.
Flagg, Fannie. “Will Truckbox Al Make the Team?” The New York Times Book Review, July 12, 1992, 33.
Kaufmann, James. “The World According to Silas Ermineskin.” The Christian Science Monitor, September 21, 1984, p. 22.
Kinsella, W. P., and Ann Knight. “Baseball Like It Oughta Be.” American Film 14, no. 7 (May, 1989): 76.
Lecker, Robert, et al., eds. Canadian Writers and Their Works: Sandra Birdsell, Timothy Findley, W. P. Kinsella, and David Adams Richards. Toronto: ECW Press, 1996.
Okrent, Daniel. “Imaginary Baseball.” The New York Times, July 25, 1982, p. 10.
Pellow, C. Kenneth. “Shoeless Joe in Film and Fiction.” Aethlon: The Journal of Sport Literature 9, no. 1 (Fall, 1991): 17-23.
Sayers, Valerie. “If He Wrote It, They Will Read.” The New York Times Book Review, December 19, 1993, 14.