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Castro's Curveball Paperback – September 1, 2006
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Wendel's lustrous prose and imaginative storytelling paint a vivid portrait of a life not just lived, but inhaled against a backdrop of a nation mad for baseball and not far from political and social upheaval. Having caught Castro's extraordinarily feathery curveball in an exhibition, Billy befriends the future leader, falling under his charismatic spell and enormous dreams for a new nation. Billy also falls, deeply, for a beautiful Cuban photographer who is so caught by Castro's visions that destiny deems the strands of their lives can never twine. "Castro was a hurricane unto himself," Billy recalls. "When I first met him, that side of him seemed refreshing, almost funny in a strange way." But the closer he got to Cuba's future leader, the more that would change. Just how much--and at what personal cost--is the secret that Billy, now an old man on a return trip to his past, must confront as if it were a fastball down the heart of his life, and make his peace with it at last. --Jeff Silverman --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
When I first heard what the story was about I thought it was too bizarre an idea to be interesting until I found out it was probably true. Castro, according to a lot of USA baseball players playing off-season in Cuba, was the best pitcher they ever saw. He was hired by an American team but things began to happen before the winter was over and he made other career choices. Castro denied that he had played baseball in his youth but it's remembered by too many people to not be at least likely.
I have little interest in sports and wouldn't have read a baseball book if that's what it was. However, that's just the focus of the one of the threads in this story. This is an intriguing novel about fascinating people in strange situations that goes far beyond baseball. It's a love story and a story about politics and a carefully researched historical novel as well as a very good present day story. There is much to enjoy here.
I'm describing this from memory, having listened to it in an audiobook when it was first published. I was in an internet listserve at that time in which the book's narrator was also a participant. We had had a number of discussions about books and he had just finished narrating this one and he thought it might suit me even though I had initially reject it as a "sports book", which it actually isn't. So I took his word and read it and he was right.
I recently bought the Kindle version and I plan to re-read it soon.
The story line is one of hope - the hope of a career minor leaguer trying to make it to the bigs, as well as the hope of a revolutionary trying to change a country. Both characters brought together by the love of the game of baseball.
Wendel captures the struggle of each, complete in the knowledge that a price has to be paid before the goal is ever, if ever, attained. The minor leaguer paying the price of having to play winter ball to improve; the revolutionary paying the price of having to gain momemtum from true grass roots politics.
Wendel is masterful at showing how the love of baseball can bring together radically different people in a peaceful setting, and afterwards, just as at games today, everyone goes their own ways, each with a different opinion of what was the best thing about what happened that day at the ballpark.
A great book that showed me why a person like Castro, so villified today, could reach out and gain the love and trust of his fellow countrymen.
I recommend the book highly.
Reading this book is almost like having a tour of Havana in the late 1940s.with all its glitter, glamour, and sinfullness. It's almost as if the author had been there during that time, and visited the places about which he writes. Of course, he was too young to have done that, so his imagination and research appears quite excellent.
We have a story of an early 30s (in years) American ball player working in the winter league in Cuba, who happens upon an interesting young college student who has an excellent curveball. That student is Castro, before he became the leader of the revolution that brought him to power in the late 1950s. In this book he is just beginning his anti-government journey, and it shows him in a somewhat human way, with both virtues and vices.
There is a love story, and a nostalgic journey back to Cuba by the now much older player, which takes place in the late 1990s. It's a bittersweet story of love, longing., loneliness and revolution. It's well worth reading, if only for the views of old Havana, and the idea of what might have been if Fidel's contract had actually existed, and he came to America to play basll.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I have Tim Wendel's book sitting on my bookshelf waiting for it to become a movie. It is an adventure into the 'old' baseball era where players were still hometown heroes and fans... Read morePublished on November 2, 2011 by Evi Dently
Castro's Curveball was a fun read that begs the question -- what if it wasn't fiction?
The descriptive images of Cuba in the 1940's were wonderful. Read more
I didn't think I would love a book about baseball. But I loved this story, the characters, the context, the fact that it took me somewhere else in time and space. Read morePublished on August 10, 2010 by jomalo
Tim Wendel has captured the post-Batista era of Cuban politics and baseball. It's a great read, with rich characters and drama. Highly recommended.Published on May 4, 2010 by Elliot Stanton Berke
Time Wendel did a temendous job of not only making the baseball exciting, but I really got a sense of what Cuba may have been like years ago. Read morePublished on July 6, 2008 by Robert Gambarelli
I had high hopes for this book. The book describes itself as a fictionalized account of Fidel Castro's baseball career. Read morePublished on May 27, 2004 by JMack
I found Castros' Curveball a wonderful ride through an amazing journey. Whether you are a history buff, a romantic, a sports fan or just an avid reader, there is a strong enough... Read morePublished on October 10, 2003
I found this book to be very enjoyable. It cleverly tied together historical fiction, baseball, and a love story. It was easy to read, and kept my attention. Read morePublished on October 2, 2003