Hester's endearing, nostalgic yarn set in Alma, N.C., during the early 1950s evokes bygone times--both in the national lifestyle and in the life of its youthful narrator--with vividness and humor. E.Z. Poole, 14-year-old orphan, part-time utility infielder for Alma's Class D baseball team, becomes its chief scout for a special project dreamed up by the team's parsimonious owner, Sam Bean. Sam wants E.Z. to find him ""another Jackie Robinson"" somewhere among the ""Darker Persons"" of the hemisphere, and--more importantly--to babysit the alcoholic, unlicensed team doctor and the decrepit team manager who will accompany E.Z. on his journey. Amazingly, they bring someone back, a Ruthian pitching and batting talent from Florida named Josh Loganberry. Josh doesn't much care for baseball (his heart's set on being a volunteer fireman), he's just a bit smarter than wood and he's not a ""Darker Person,"" but he single-handedly wins enough games for Sam to challenge a major league club to play his Behemoths in a heavily promoted exhibition. Hester, a short-story writer and poet (With Crockett at the Alamo) lets E.Z. narrate his first novel in a voice enriched by rough grammar and frequent malapropisms. In fact, with E.Z.'s hick-smarts, a cast of farcical charlatans and some good-natured social satire, Hester--as is clearly his intention--does a fair impersonation of Mark Twain. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 10/02/1996 Release date: 10/01/1996 Genre:
During the Covid-19 crisis, Publishers Weekly is providing free digital access to our magazine, archive, and website. To receive the access to the latest issue delivered to your inbox free each week, enter your email below.