cover image Getting Blue

Getting Blue

Peter Gethers. Delacorte Press, $0 (346pp) ISBN 978-0-385-29523-9

Gethers's second novel (after The Dandy presents the life and times of Alex Justin, a major league baseball player searching for that elusive ""moment''the ``perfect play.'' His relationship with Patty, his childhood sweetheart, is particularly endearing, and this neatly told story, with its snappy dialogue, is populated by other memorable characters: enigmatic Dave Manning, crass ``Lump'' and Willie Trott, whose career is violently cut short by bigotry. The perceptive, compelling narrative draws us into Alex's ``secret world,'' his own version of the American Dream, in which he is convinced that potential and hard work will spell certain success. The problem is, the Dream subtly changes as Alex ages, for he learns fear. The book begins in the '50s, when Alex is an apprentice player, and ends in the '80s, when he is the manager of a jazz club. When they are 18, Willie introduces Alex to modern jazz and Charlie Parker, whose moments of ``getting blue'' are the perfect musical counterpoint to Alex's search. Alex is driven to do something great, but when his moment is realized, he discovers it is not enough, for what he strove to achieve in baseball, he continues to wish to achieve in life. (March 6)