Five friends who get together every four years to watch the final of the World Cup are the centre of We Were Only Joking! by Dimitris Mingas.
The writer uses these four-yearly meetings to portray the lives of the group of men, following them through 32 years nine and soccer cup finals, from their student days and the political turbulence of the 1970s, to the era of the European Union and globalization.
Mingas parlays an extensive familiarity with the world of soccer into a vivid creation of the game and the five fans. His narrative technique is inventive: in each chapter the protagonists and all those involved with them are four years younger than in the previous chapter, and reveal aspects of their pasts which anyone who knows their future is able to understand.
The characters are depicted with clarity and the style is unadorned, which enhances the structure of the plot.
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