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The Natural
New York: Harcourt Brace and Company, 1952. First Edition. Hardcover. Fine/fine. 1st edition of his first book. Red cloth (one of 3 bindings with no priority), a fine copy, in a fine dustjacket (no nicks, tears or fading). Superficially, The Natural is a baseball novel set in the 1930s, but it's really a Gothic novel taken out into the sunshine and set between the chalk lines. Its themes touch a succession of juxtapositions including, choices and consequences, morality and responsibility, and, of course, rise and fall. Woven through the plotline is a symbolic myth of initiation and isolation, drawing from models of lore as distant as Chr├ętien de Troyes' Sir Percival (the original Arthurian quest for the Holy Grail), and as near as T. S. Eliot's The Waste Land, as well as numerous others (some even earlier than the former, some even later than the latter). Malamud's motif is the tragic flaw, and the symbols galore accent birds (including Harriet Bird, the woman in black), water (rain, drowning), the vegetative cycle of spring (including Iris Lemon, who's name was changed to Gaines in the movie), trains (the book opens with Roy's train emerging from a tunnel, his rebirth at the age of 19), and the field (the playing field is The Waste Land), dry and parched when Roy arrives, but after his first hit, rain falls for 3 days and turns the field a vibrant green. And then there is his bat, Wonderboy, an Excalibur forged in lightning.
      [Bookseller: Biblioctopus]
Last Found On: 2017-12-12           Check availability:      IOBABooks    

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