The Krzyzewskiville Tales

Book Pages: 296 Illustrations: 20 b&w photos Published: October 2005

Author: Aaron Dinin

Contributor: Mickie Krzyzewski

General Interest > Duke University, Literature and Literary Studies > Fiction

Recent Duke University graduate Aaron Dinin has produced an entertaining, imaginative look at Krzyzewskiville, the tent city named after Duke University's head men's basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski (Sha-shef-ski). A unique Duke tradition, Krzyzewskiville is used to determine which students are admitted into key games. Taking Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales as his model, Dinin has created characters who narrate their semifictionalized tales—by turns reverent, bawdy, and humorous—to enlighten readers about this cherished institution.

So the story begins. On a wintry night in Durham, North Carolina, writes Dinin, twelve students huddle under the meager protection of a nylon tent. They have little in common except the sacrosanct tradition that has brought them together for the past month. Before the sun next sets, they will anoint themselves in blue and white paint and enter nearby Cameron Indoor Stadium to worship at the altar of Blue Devils basketball. In the meantime, they abide in Krzyzewskiville.

A stranger enters the tent, a respected sportswriter, and suggests that the tenters pass the hours until the next tent check by telling stories of Krzyzewskiville. Like Chaucer’s pilgrims, the students compete to tell the best tale. They report on ribald tenting exploits, relate a dream in which Duke basketball players and coaches test a fan’s loyalty, debate the rationality of tenting as a way of allocating students’ tickets, and describe the spontaneous tent city that sprang up one summer when their beloved “Coach K” was offered a job elsewhere. This storytelling competition creates a loving portrait of the complex rules and tribal customs that make up the rich community and loyal fans that are Krzyzewskiville.

Mickie Krzyzewski, Coach K’s wife and a familiar courtside figure at Duke basketball games, has contributed a foreword praising the “love, commitment, and ownership” of the citizens of Krzyzewskiville.


"[T]his is the most singularly driven book I’ve ever read. . . . In the grand Southern tradition, Dinin has taken a postage stamp of land and created a world. . . . As a hard-core Blue Devils fan, I respect the obsession. . . ."
— Chad W. Post, The Believer

"Are they insane? No, just Crazies. And this book is worth reading because those tales help explain why anyone would do this. They're fans--with a tradition that puts them up there (or out there) with Crazy Ray."

— Bryan French, Fort Worth Star-Telegram

"Dinin channels Chaucer as Duke's tent-dwellers rewrite The Canterbury Tales." — Carol Herwig, USA Today

"Dinin probes the history and cachet of the little village . . . with a sense of basketball history and a respect for good storytelling."
— John Levesque, Seattle Post-Intelligencer

"Duke University Press has scored with this basketball book built around a Chaucerian conceit. . . . Dinin's book can be treasured for its wit and charm. . . . [I]t would be enjoyed by anyone wanting to read about college basketball, college life, digs at sociology majors or the anthropology of demented, blue and white-painted fans." — Marilyn Dahl, Shelf Awareness

Best local Sports book of 2005 "Aaron Dinin filled up a dreary football fall with heartfelt, historical basketball journalism. Inspired by The Canterbury Tales and written with the enthusiasm of a Cameron Crazy, Dinin takes the reader through the winter pregame tenting rituals of Duke undergrads. This is a beautiful little book, complete with a glossary, some sweet photographs, and filled with the boundless joy of being a Dukie during the wonder years." — John Valentine, Independent Weekly

“The following tales were inspired by Geoffrey Chaucer’s verse poem The Canterbury Tales, and, of course, the students of Duke University and their adventures in Krzyzewskiville. . . . Any reader who has experienced a night of personal checks at Krzyzewskiville might ask himself, Would a group of students actually sit down and tell stories about K-ville while 1,200 screaming, laughing college kids run around nearby? That, of course, doesn't really happen . . . or at least it hasn’t in my experience. Granted, a few such stories have been passed along over the years, but never in such detail and never in such a setting. However, I’ll ask my readers to suspend disbelief for a few pages in the interest of a good story—or twelve.” — Aaron Dinin, from the preface

“This inventive and enlightening romp through the wintertime tent city on the Duke campus is like a trip back in time. You’ll find yourself in college again, taking Anthro 101 and Chaucer and letting ACC basketball run your life.” — Alexander Wolff, senior writer, Sports Illustrated


Availability: In stock
Price: $27.95

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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

An Atlanta native, Aaron Dinin completed The Krzyzewskiville Tales before receiving his B.A. in English from Duke University in 2005. Dinin, who was indifferent to sports before coming to Duke, tented in Krzyzewskiville for two years, and as a senior he was a line monitor, one of the most powerful positions in Duke student fandom. When not in class, in a tent, or cheering for the Blue Devils in Cameron Indoor Stadium, he worked on a scholarly project to analyze the manuscripts of Walt Whitman, played viola with the Dulcedo Quartet, and provided campus tours for prospective students with the Blue Devil Guides. The Krzyzewskiville Tales is Dinin’s first book—but surely not his last.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Foreword / Mickie Krzyzewski ix

Preface xi

Acknowledgments xxxvii

General Prologue 1

The Captain 25

The Engineer 38

The Sociology Major 54

The Public Policy Major 93

Interruption to the Storytelling Competition 110

Aaron 114

The Women's Studies Major 135

The Pre-Med Student 146

The Math Major's Tale 176

The Pre-Law Student 191

The English Major 206

General Epilogue 221

Crazie Talk: A Glossary 225
Sales/Territorial Rights: World

Rights and licensing
Additional InformationBack to Top
Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-3633-4