For Love of the Game

Michael Shaara, Author Carroll & Graf Publishers $16.95 (152p) ISBN 978-0-88184-695-9
Reading this posthumously published baseball novel is best compared to watching a gifted young player whose promise slowly fades with every strikeout and weak groundball, despite occasional flashes of potential. Shaara, who won a Pulitzer in 1975 for The Killer Angels , died just after the book was finished, and one feels he might have liked to give it a rewrite. Just before the last game of the season, star pitcher Billy Chapel, a veteran of 17 years in the major leagues, discovers that his team plans to trade him. Moreover, he learns that his New York editor/girlfriend has inexplicably ended their romance--leaving him adrift and the reader more than a little indifferent. The love affair, seen in flashbacks (notably a scene in which they achieve congress in a small airplane), must compete with an unhealthy number of baseball cliches and a series of featureless characters; even Billy, whose thoughts we share, seems a blank. The book does come to life, fittingly enough, as Chapel takes the mound for his final and greatest game. Shaara succeeds in conveying the extraordinary physical and psychological demands of the professional game as well as the dizzying pleasures of its triumphs. But even the account of Chapel's greatest victory is marred by a trite ending. While flawed, however, this is a noteworthy attempt to capture the simultaneous loss of a life's love and a life's obsession. (May)
Reviewed on: 04/01/1991
Release date: 04/01/1991
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 978-0-614-27274-1
Paperback - 160 pages - 978-0-7867-0114-8
Mass Market Paperbound - 176 pages - 978-0-345-40891-4
Hardcover - 978-1-57490-192-4
Prebound-Other - 978-0-613-21554-1
Paperback - 160 pages - 978-0-345-40892-1
Paperback - 978-0-88184-813-7
Ebook - 176 pages - 978-0-307-75728-9
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-1-56511-331-2
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