cover image The Might-Have-Been

The Might-Have-Been

Joseph M. Schuster. Ballantine, $25 (352p) ISBN 978-0-345-530264

Lifelong obsession is hauntingly portrayed in this winning debut novel tracing the life of a baseball player who only wants to play the game. When minor league ballplayer Edward Everett Yates finally gets his shot at the majors, his outing is marred by injury. His resulting forced retirement from baseball opens up a new future filled with love, a family, and a steady career as a salesman working with his uncle—if only he can give up his passion for the game. Schuster displays his deep knowledge of the minutiae of baseball as both game and business while sensitively addressing the regrets and self-doubt of a man torn between his devotion to a sport and his attraction to a conventional life with women, ranging from his high school friend Connie to his minor league sweetheart, Julie. Edward Everett’s life is eventually narrowed by chance and his own choices to a final opportunity as coach of a struggling minor league team. This moving tale will engage even nonbaseball fans as Schuster examines, without succumbing to sentiment or an easy resolution, the cost of chasing a dream. Agent: Amanda Urban, ICM. (Mar.)