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Approaching Twi-Night Paperback – February 11, 2015
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This month's Book With Buzz: "Stranger in the House" by Shari Lapena
In this neighborhood, danger lies close to home. A thriller packed full of secrets and a twisty story that never stops - from the bestselling author of "The Couple Next Door." See more
"M. Thomas Apple's contemporary fiction novel, Approaching Twi-Night, is all about baseball, but don't let that discourage you from reading this marvelous story if you're not a baseball enthusiast. The author's writing is eloquent and lyrically beautiful as Ditch surveys the field and town of his youth and considers his future. It's been some time since I sat and watched a baseball game, and longer still since I played, but despite that, the story of this pitcher and his teammates totally drew me in; it was just so compelling and real." - Jack Magnus, Readers' Favorite
"This is a quiet novel in terms of scope, but in terms of the power of its sentences, it's dynamic and moving. Approaching Twi-Night is literary fiction at its best...Apple is an elegant and understated writer, and Approaching Twi-Night isn't just a fine literary baseball novel, it's a lyrically rich novel about life, work, and family by a writer in command of his craft." -- Self-Publishing Review
"Approaching Twi-Night really touched home, brought back so many great memories of my own experience as an owner and manager in minor league baseball. Most major league players will definitely be able to relate, from cramped bus rides to not having a lot of meal money, but just enjoying the game of baseball." - Ben Bernard, President & General Manager, Glens Falls Dragons (PGCBL), Former manager, Glens Falls White Sox and Albany-Colonie Yankees
From the Inside Flap
KaCHUNK. The ball smashed into the chain link fence behind the batter, who had dropped the bat and jumped backwards.
"Friggin' Jew, you tried to kill me! He friggin' threw at my head!"
"Hey, settle down, he didn't mean nothing." Craig, defending him.
John threw his glove down on the damp backyard grass. "I'm not Jewish," he said, clenching his teeth and making a fist.
"Threw at my head..."
"Did not! That was a strike, right on the inside corner."
"Bullshit! You're a dirty Jew!"
"Told you, I'm not...I ain't Jewish. We're Irish Catholic!"
Sneer. "Irish Caaaatholic, that's why you got so many kids." Gesturing at classmates. "We all know what the Klein Daddy and Momma been up to lately, uh huh." Gesturing at crotch and pumping with both hands. "Oh, more Kleiny babies, more babies."
Seeing red, John charged. Smashed into, dumped to the ground, fists flying. Kill you, kill you good...Hands prying, pulling apart, pushing, shoving.
"Jesus, friggin' spaz, get 'im offa me!"
"Hey, John, cool it!"
"Ain't a Jew, ain't an Irish..."
Glasses, where are the glasses...here, on the ground, bent sideways but not broken. Someone holding him from behind, two people pinning his arms at his side. John felt his bottom lip protruding, swollen, knuckles bruised and aching. Left hand, not pitching hand. Lucky.
Nobody spoke for a few minutes. Just breathing hard, staring each other down. John swallowed, looked down, shoved his glasses on his face again. He'd get contacts. No more glasses. Sat crookedly on one ear.
His brother's friend glared, then shook his head, spat, shrugged.
"Whatever. You ain't never going to the majors, Jew-boy."
"Hey, Thor, ease up..."
"Coach? He's washed up. You're lucky he gave you a start. One. You'll see."
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Top customer reviews
“Approaching Twi-Night” is, on its surface, about baseball and Apple certainly knows the game. He’s got the jargon right. He perfectly places you in the team bus, the locker room, the field of the old ballparks with their fading Marlboro Man signs and echoes of past glory. It’s like the film Bull Durham minus the sex and one-liners about Katherine the Great’s horse.
Apple has tremendous talent. At one point (I note it was early in the novel, Chapter 3, a scene where Jonathan returns to his parents house to find his mother cooking dinner and his father gardening in the small backyard) I had to flip the book to the front cover to check the name of the author. I was almost certain I was reading a Raymond Carver short story I had never read before. Apple (like Carver) is a writer of characters. He paints portraits with well chosen words. He understands his characters. Like many of the dirty realist writers of the 70s, Apple writes about small town life, the lower-middle class, the lost or conflicted, but in “Approaching Twi-Night’ there is always a glimmer of hope.
I highly recommend reading “Approaching Twi-Night” if you are a fan of baseball, but also if you are a fan of excellent writing. I once had a professor in college who said that novels are bit like swimming pools. Some novels swim in the shallow end: plot-driven, fast-paced, everything gliding along the surface. This is where you play (think James Patterson or the majority of novels you find in the grocery store next to the periodicals). Other novels swim in the deep end. These novels require you to be a good reader (a good swimmer) and look for the symbols, the intent of the author. Diving in to explore the subtext and the theme. I like to swim in the deep end, and M. Thomas Apple’s “Approaching Twi-Night” is right at at home in the deep water.