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Brittle innings
Michael Bishop
Adult Fiction BISHOP

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Frankenstein meets Field of Dreams in this nostalgic, gracefully written but fundamentally flawed baseball novel. Set in a sleepy Georgia town during WW II, this coming-of-age saga is based on the real-life story of Danny Boles, a major league scout who died of throat cancer in 1989. The fictional Boles leaves his rural Oklahoma digs to become shortstop for the Hightower Hellbenders, vaulting the Class C team into a pennant race in the process. Veteran writer Bishop ( No Enemy but Time ) delivers smooth and polished baseball prose and does some nice tricks with sports colloquialisms. He also tackles gritty issues such as the origins--in sexual abuse--of Boles's stuttering, the ravages of war and the rampant racism that plagued the sport. More problematic is Boles's huge teammate, slugging first baseman Henry ``Jumbo'' Cerval, who bears a suspicious resemblance to the gargantuan outcome of Victor Frankenstein's grand experiment. In the beginning, Bishop presents Cerval as a literate, likable freak. As the season unfolds, Cerval is revealed as the original monster, having escaped and survived for almost a century in the frozen North. Bishop milks the ludicrous premise for an intriguingly macabre ending, but the real problem is that Henry is far more interesting as a flawed human than as a scientific creation. That flaw aside, Brittle Innings should prove an engaging read for both sports buffs and fiction fans. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

Nebula Award-winning author Bishop presents a most unusual fantasy: Frankenstein's monster as a minor-league first baseman. The plot grows slowly as baseball scout Danny Boles recalls his season in the class-C Chattahoochee Valley League in the war-torn summer of 1943. What begins as a simple coming-of-age saga shifts radically with the introduction of Boles's roommate Henry ``Jumbo'' Clerval: ``I was ugly,'' Boles recalls, ``but this guy'd been put together in a meat packing plant by clumsy blind men.'' The mute Boles and the gigantic Clerval lead their team, the Highbridge Hellbenders, into the thick of a pennant race, initially with triumphant results but ending, ultimately, in tragedy. The game of baseball is secondary, however, to the bond that grows between these two castoffs and the truths each man uncovers. Recommended for fantasy collections.-- Jeffrey Gay, Bridgewater P.L., Mass. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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main characters Danny Boles
Male
Age: 17
Shy
Talented; physically small; a personal trauma has rendered him mute.
Shortstop

Henry "Jumbo Hank" Clerval
Male
Mysterious; gentle; large; badly scarred; very strong.
First baseman



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