Synopses & Reviews
The classical novel (and basis for the acclaimed film) now in a new edition
Introduction by Kevin Baker
The Natural, Bernard Malamuds first novel, published in 1952, is also the first—and some would say still the best—novel ever written about baseball. In it Malamud, usually appreciated for his unerring portrayals of postwar Jewish life, took on very different material—the story of a superbly gifted “natural” at play in the fields of the old daylight baseball era—and invested it with the hardscrabble poetry, at once grand and altogether believable, that runs through all his best work. Four decades later, Alfred Kazins 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.”
"Malamud [holds a] high and honored place among contemporary American writers." Washington Post Book World
"A brilliant and unusually fine novel." The New York Times
"A preposterously readable story about life." Time
"The finest novel about baseball since Ring Lardner left the scene." St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Malamud's first novel, published in 1952, is also the first--and some would say still the best--novel ever written about baseball. In it Malamud takes on 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, grand and believable, that runs through all his best work.
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 costs 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 (1914–86) wrote eight novels; he won the Pulitzer Prize and a National Book Award for The Fixer, and the National Book Award for The Magic Barrel. Born in Brooklyn, he taught for many years at Bennington College in Vermont.