The Conduct of the Game

John Hough, Jr., Author Houghton Mifflin Harcourt P $14.95 (340p) ISBN 978-0-15-121625-3
A good baseball novel is always a pleasant surprise, and this book is just that. Unlike many books of the genre that recount close games in perfect detail and lead up to a momentous contest, however, this narrative focuses on one of the men behind the plate rather than players. It is an achingly evocative coming-of-age saga in which the hero, Lee Malcolm, tells of growing up and falling in love in a small town in the '50s and '60s. Born to call strikes, he sets off for umpire's school and begins a fast rise to the majors. The story darkens as Malcolm is caught up in personal and sexual conflicts that culminate in a tragic end for the four man crew of which he is a part. A sincere, skillfully written and highly pleasurable tale, it is less about the game than about people, integrity and commitment. Hough (The Guardian shows a maturing talent here. (April 30)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1986
Release date: 01/01/1986
Mass Market Paperbound - 978-0-446-34555-2
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