cover image Past the Bleachers: A Novel by the Author of Hangman

Past the Bleachers: A Novel by the Author of Hangman

Chris A. Bohjalian, Jeanette Winterson. Carroll & Graf Publishers, $18.95 (254pp) ISBN 978-0-88184-802-1

In this accomplished third novel by the author of Hangman , narrator Bill Parrish and his wife, Harper, have lost their only child, Nathaniel, age 10, to acute lymphocytic leukemia. Searching for a way to deal with his grief, Bill agrees to coach the Little League team that Nathaniel would have played for had he lived to see another summer. Among his young charges is Lucky Diamond, a mute child with a mysterious background. Like Nathaniel, Lucky is a gifted natural athlete with a sweet smile. Gradually, Bill finds himself drawn into Lucky's mystery--a father no one has ever seen, school records that can't be found, a series of sinister accidents that point to Lucky as the possessor of strange powers. Indeed, as the book progresses one fears that Bohjalian will cheapen its very real insights into grief with a faux -Stephen King supernatural plot, but he is a better writer than that. The book's final revelations, while a trifle mechanical, take it in vastly more profound direction altogether. Bohjalian has a fine feeling for emotions, and draws his characters with real affection. Eschewing predictable melodramatic violence, he has created a moving portrait of some decent people trying to cope with the powerful forces of grief and loss, which he leavens withdb (too many some's) very funny recollections of life in Little League. (May)