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1 Beaverton Literature- A to Z



Natural Cover

ISBN13: 9780380506095
ISBN10: 0380506092
Condition: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Biting, witty, provocative, and sardonic, Bernard Malamud's The Natural is widely considered to be the premier baseball novel of all time. It tells the story of Roy Hobbs--an athlete born with rare and wondrous gifts--who is robbed of his prime playing years by a youthful indiscretion that nearly consists him his life. But at an age when most players are considering retirement, Roy reenters the game, lifting the lowly New York Knights from last place into pennant contention and becoming an instant hero in the process. Now all he has to worry about is the fixers, the boss, the slump, the jinx, the fans...and the dangerously seductive Memo Paris, the one woman Roy can't seem to get out of his mind

About the Author

Bernard Malamud was born to Russian immigrant parents in Brooklyn, New York, in 1914. His story collection, The Magic Barrel, won the National Book Award in 1958. The Fixer, a novel, won him another National Book Award in 1967, as well as the Pulitzer Prize. His other books include The Tenants, A New Life, Dubin's Lives, The Assistant, and The Natural, which was made into a highly successful motion picture directed by Barry Levinson and starring Robert Redford.

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MHK, March 29, 2012 (view all comments by MHK)
When writing a book pertaining to baseball, the goal of the author is to write a book that any baseball fan would appreciate. Bernard Malamud, the author of The Natural, accomplished just that. The Natural is a novel about America’s pastime, the game of baseball. It is written in the vernacular languages of New York and the game of baseball. Malamud uses slang and jargon in an attempt to capture the souls of his audience. He wants the readers to feel like they are characters of the book themselves. The narrator follows a young aspiring ball player by the name of Roy Hobbs as he attempts to accomplish his dream of playing in the major leagues. The Natural’s genre is a combination of sports, tragedy, myth, and drama. In order to fully understand the complexity of this novel, it is important to have a background with mythology because Malamud plots his characters around a few different myths including Arthurian Legends. With saying that, the recommend audience for this book falls under the category of middle aged adults, but not specifically only baseball fans. Nevertheless, Bernard Malamud hit a homerun with this book.
Bernard Malamud, known as a Jewish writer, began writing short stories in the 1940’s. It wasn’t until 1952 when he published The Natural, his first novel. Before reading The Natural, it is important to be knowledgeable of mythology, more specifically the Arthurian Legends of Perceval and the Fisher King. Malamud created several of his characters with characters of these myths in the back of his mind. He chose to write a book about America’s pastime while also interpreting these myths. Malamud chose a very interesting, yet very brilliant approach to interpreting the myths of Arthurian Legends. In The Natural, the story of Perceval and the Fisher King is told through an aspiring young ball player and his pursuit to become a professional baseball player.
The Natural hits the ball right on the sweet spot for fans of America’s pastime. A third person-omniscient narrator tracks the journey of Roy Hobbs, a baseball player with talent any scout would go nuts for. "He felt almost happy, and that he could do anything that he wanted, if he wanted"(223). Roy is a very cocky character with the drive of a successful salesman; he could become whatever it is he wanted to be. It isn’t until Roy becomes in touch with a scout for the Chicago Cubs that he believes he can make his dream true of becoming a professional baseball player. During his journey to the big leagues, Roy had to overcome several obstacles. He experienced the death of a friend and was near death himself. “We have two lives, Roy, the life we learn with and the life we live with after that. Suffering is what brings us toward happiness. All it taught me was to stay aware of it. I am sick of all I have suffered”(158). Malamud incorporates several different hurdles that Roy is forced to overcome if he wishes to accomplish his goal. Roy holds a secret of his own through the entire novel about his bat which he has nicknamed Wonderboy. He refuses to use any other bat because this bat he carved out of a tree which was struck by lightning. Besides the pursuit of becoming a professional, Roy also becomes veritably romantic. The issue that arises with Roy’s love life is that he finds himself in love with more than one woman. Throughout the entire novel, Malamud pollutes Roy’s life with distractions in an attempt to bring down the hero of Roy Hobbs.

The Natural is arguably the greatest sports book ever written. I am a young man that lives for the game of baseball and I have never read a book that captures my soul the way this book did. From beginning to end, this book had my mind pacing back and forth. Malamud’s goal was to create a book that would excite baseball fans while also educating his audience on myths of Perceval and the Fisher King. In his attempt to reach this goal, Malamud turned a triple play, a play that happens roughly three or four times a year. This book inspires any baseball fan or player to continue to pursue their dreams no matter what may come across their path. The Natural suggests that no matter what background or situation one might be dealing with, anything is possible. The way the book is written is also very unique. No other baseball book that I have ever read has ever been written with the vernacular language of the game. This aspect effectively pulls the reader in and makes them feel like they are a part of the action. Another fascinating facet is the interpretation of Perceval and the Fisher King. By creating characters that work side by side with characters from the myths of Perceval and the Fisher King, Malamud created a sense of concurrence. The audience can relate to the myths and the game of baseball through their own experiences. One thing that was left out from this book that many baseball players might not realize is that, the struggles Roy Hobbs goes through are primarily struggles outside the lines of the ball field. Roy experiences a lot of success on the field and a lot of his failures on the diamond aren’t highlighted. Overall, this novel was a great read. I highly recommend it to any sports fan and anyone interested in experiencing a journey.
The Natural was Bernard Malamud’s first novel ever. It’s a novel about America’s pastime, the game of baseball. It is written in the vernacular languages of New York and the game of baseball in an attempt to truly capture its audience. The Natural hits the ball right on the sweet spot for fans of America’s pastime. It is filled with exhilarating events that keep you on the edge of your seat. Bernard Malamud hit a walk-off grand slam with the creation of The Natural.

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Kyle Wise, September 1, 2011 (view all comments by Kyle Wise)
Great book for true baseball fans. Wasn't expecting the unfortunate ending though. Usually these types of stories have happy endings.
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Product Details

Malamud, Bernard
New York :
Baseball players
Edition Description:
Source: Gift of Ann Malamud, Sept. 8, 1993.
Series Volume:
Publication Date:
July 1980
Mass Market Paperbou
6.89x4.13x.66 in. .25 lbs.

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