Gil Gamesh, the only pitcher who ever literally tried to kill the umpire. The ex-con first baseman John Baal, “The Babe Ruth of the Big House,” who never hit a homerun sober. If you’ve never heard of them—or of the Ruppert Mundy’s, the only homeless big-league ball team in American history—it’s because of the Communist plot and the capitalist scandal that expunged the entire Patriot League from baseball memory.
In this ribald, richly imagined, and wickedly satiric novel, Philip Roth turns baseball’s status as national pastime and myth into the occasion for unfettered picaresque farce, replete with heroism, perfidy, ebullient wordplay, and a cast of characters that includes the House Un-American Activities Committee.
©1995 Phillip Roth (P)2010 Brilliance Audio, Inc.
"Roth is better than he's ever been before....The prose is electric." (The Atlantic)
"Shameless comic extravagance.... Roth gleefully exploits our readiness to let baseball stand for America itself." (The New York Times)
"Roth invents baseball anew, as pure slapstick.... An awesome performance." (The New Republic)
Because I've never been a baseball fan, I'd been putting this novel off for, yes, decades. When I uncovered my now yellowed and unopened paperback, I thought, "Do I really want to read this?" Then I figured I'd check to see if it was an audiobook and promptly ordered it.
The book itself is not up with the dozen or so "classic Roth" that merit him a long overdue Nobel Prize but certainly should not be overlooked. And, right upfront, you will never, but never, encounter a performance like that of James Daniels. You could never deign to call it a "reading." Daniels virtually becomes each character, dozens of voices, accents, styles. I really didn't want it to end and it was Daniels, more than Roth, that made me feel this way
I have always viewed Philip Roth as one of the greatest living American authors but Roth must have been on crack cocaine when he wrote this book many years ago. Even the greatest authors sometime write a stinker and this is Roth's. Ouch!
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