If John Irving reimagined The Brothers Karamazov as one of his kooky families and Thomas Pynchon did a rewrite, the result might be something close to this long-awaited second novel by the author of The River Why. The brothers are the Chance boys, sons of Papa Toe, a minor league pitcher whose crushed thumb is replaced by a transplanted toe, and his devout Seventh Day Adventist wife. Like Dostoevsky’s Karamazovs, the Chances speculate on the nature of God, delve into the nuances of what constitutes moral behavior, experience evil, suffer from criminal acts, and, finally, determine that God is love and love redeems. But these are American boys, and although their lives contain some terrible moments, this is essentially a comic novel. Among its many merits, it reflects far better than most fiction the wide variety of Sixties experiences, giving student radical and Vietnam grunt alike their sympathetic due. Baseball provides the central metaphor for this huge hypnotic novel, but although in that sport a “K” indicates a strikeout, here it scores a home run. via
Stop the press! I just have found my book for the summer.
Mightyflynn (aka T.S.Flynn, writer and baseball man - T for “Totally”, S for “Super”) originally recommended this book to me when I asked for good baseball novels; unfortunately I couldn’t find a copy in New England, but I have just tracked down a Kindle version.
(You had me at John Irving…)
*update: on page 2 a paragraph opens with the sentence “The screen door slams.”
O, wondrous combination of words! O, magical mystical musical madeleine! O, Springsteen!