The Natural A Novel

Bernard Malamud; Introduction by Kevin Baker

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

0374502005

9780374502003

Trade Paperback

248 Pages

$15.00

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The Natural, Bernard Malamud's first novel, is also the first—and some would say still the best—literary novel written about baseball. In it Malamud, usually appreciated for his unerring portrayals of postwar Jewish life, takes on very different material—the story of a superbly gifted "natural" at play in the fields of the old daylight baseball era—and invests it with the hardscrabble poetry, at once grand and altogether believable, that runs through all his best work. Four decades after the novel's publication, Alfred Kazin's comment still holds true: "Malamud has done something which—now that he has done it!—looks as if we have been waiting for it all our lives. He has really raised the whole passion and craziness and fanaticism of baseball as a popular spectacle to its ordained place in mythology."

REVIEWS

Praise for The Natural

"A brilliant and unusually fine novel."—The New York Times

"A preposterously readable story about life."—Time

"Malamud [holds a] high and honored place among contemporary American writers."—The Washington Post Book World

"The finest novel about baseball since Ring Lardner left the scene."—St. Louis Post-Dispatch

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BOOK EXCERPTS

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The Natural
PRE-GAMERoy Hobbs pawed at the glass before thinking to prick a match with his thumbnail and hold the spurting flame in his cupped palm close to the lower berth window, but by then he had figured it was a tunnel they were passing through and was no longer surprised at the bright sight of himself holding a yellow light over his head, peering back in. As the train yanked its long tail out of the thundering tunnel, the kneeling reflection dissolved and he felt a splurge of freedom at the view of the moon-hazed Western hills bulked against night broken by sprays of summer lightning,
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Bernard Malamud; Introduction by Kevin Baker

  • Bernard Malamud (1914-1986) published eight novels, including The Fixer, which won the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award. The Magic Barrel, a collection of short stories, also won the National Book Award. Born in Brooklyn, Malamud was a beloved teacher for many years at Bennington College in Vermont.
  • Bernard Malamud Copyright Seymour Linden
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