The Legend of Bagger Vance: Golf and the Game of Life

Steven Pressfield, Author William Morrow & Company $22 (272p) ISBN 978-0-688-14048-9
Improbable as it may sound, this allegorical first novel by an L.A. screenwriter reads like an F. Scott Fitzgerald scholar reciting a medley culled from the Bhagavadgita, Huck Finn and The Tempest: it has gray-flannel charm, a thick vein of mysticism, homespun homilies and an encroaching storm. In 1931, a mythical golf match is arranged between the legendary Bobby Jones and the fabled Walter Hagen to promote-amid the deprivation of the Depression-a luxurious golf resort on an island near Savannah, Ga. To rally financial support from the hard-hit local money boys, former hometown golf champ Rannulph Junah, agrees to participate in the match. A somewhat degenerate aristocrat, Junah has been traveling the world in search of meaning ever since his experience in the Great War. The man whom Junah calls ``my mentor and boon companion'' is Bagger Vance, a charismatic Eastern mystic, who is black. The tournament attracts a multitude of celebrities from all over the world; it's a heroic 36-hole battle of the titans that takes place during the course of one fateful, stormy day. For Junah, the struggle is not to conquer his opponents, the elements or the daunting golf links-the conflict resides within himself. Vance helps him find his Authentic Swing-which is, of course, a metaphor for self-discovery. The novel is given the feel of a teaching by its frame, in which the wizened narrator-a septuagenarian surgeon and former golf champ who, as a 10-year-old caddy, witnessed the event-relates the tale to a burnt-out medical student in order to pass on the wisdom of Bagger Vance. Although the prose occasionally strays into the rough, this is a thoroughly beguiling little fable. 50,000 first printing; $60,000 ad/promo; film rights to Jake Eberts. (May)
Reviewed on: 05/01/1995
Release date: 05/01/1995
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Paperback - 272 pages - 978-0-380-72751-3
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Mass Market Paperbound - 304 pages - 978-0-380-81744-3
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Hardcover - 325 pages - 978-0-7862-0524-0
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-0-7435-0650-2
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Ebook - 272 pages - 978-0-06-196596-8
Paperback - 266 pages - 978-0-553-81307-4
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Hardcover - 248 pages - 978-0-7540-9082-3
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