From Publishers Weekly
This debut novel from Lombardo (The Logic of a Rose
) follows ably in the cleat-prints of W.P. Kinsella and Bernard Malamud, chronicling the life of a talented Chicago pitcher. In their middle-class Chicago suburb of the mid-1980s, baseball nut Henry Granville and his wife, Lori, face marital discord regarding Henry's immediate, insistent campaign to commit their baby son Danny to a life in baseball. When Henry discovers his son's natural ambidexterity, visions of raising a superstar switch pitcher (an almost unheard-of athletic skill) kick his obsession into overdrive. One rocky boyhood later, Danny signs with the Cubs and finds instant fame (Danny can throw like Tom Seaver with one arm and Sandy Koufax with the other) as well as a bit of infamy; he's a freak in the eyes of opponents. Meanwhile, Danny falls in love with an art instructor and nurtures another rare talent: clairvoyance. Fans of sports fiction should find this an enjoyable trip to the mound, with just enough old-fashioned Americana magic to keep them guessing. (Feb.)
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Henry wanted only one thing for his newborn son, Danny: for him to love baseball. And if he turns out to play it well, all the better. Danny was still in his infant seat when he attended his first Cubs game, and as a one-year-old, he could throw and catch. What Henry never expected was for Danny to become a phenomenon who could throw fastballs and curveballs with both hands. This special gift made him soar through the typical baseball ranks all the way to the majors. But Henry, a high-school teacher, is betrayed by one of his former students who writes an exposé about the father who pushed his child too hard and the freakish boy that resulted. Calling this novel a “baseball story” doesn’t do it justice; Lombardo’s prose is poetic and poignant. Readers who can suspend their disbelief will find the book haunting and beautiful. It is a lovely, timely debut novel about how, with certain celebrity, one’s personal life might be the fodder for public scrutiny. --Mary Frances Wilkens