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The Universal Baseball Association Paperback – November 1, 2011
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"Robert Coover is one of the most original and exciting writers around. Every new book from him is great news." --Edwidge Danticat, McSweeney's
"Coover adds his dazzling two bits to the deconstructionist turf Paul Auster prowled in The New York Trilogy." --Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
"[A] brilliant parody of noir and hardboiled fiction and film." --Michael Lipkin, New York Journal of Books
"Right from the start the book nearly matches On the Road for sheer electricity . . . Coover made baseball on the page seem three-dimensional, exulting in what he called the game's 'almost perfect balance between offense and defense.' He captured what Philip Roth, in a 1973 New York Times essay on baseball, called 'its longueurs and thrills, its spaciousness, its suspensefulness, its heroics, its nuances, its lingo, its'characters,' its peculiarly hypnotic tedium'. . . The genius of the novel is in how Coover revels in the sun-bright vitality of the world Waugh has created, full of drink and lust and dirty limericks and doubles down the line -- and yet brings Waugh face to face with its darkest truths." --The New York Times Book Review
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Top Customer Reviews
I was incredibly interested in the main themes of this work, which include humankind's constant desire to innovate and overcome loneliness. Early on, Coover raises the fundamental question of what does one owe to the self and extensions thereof? As the novel progresses, he effectively shows how our creations have the unhealthy ability to ultimately overwhelm us and isolate us. The final chapter is brilliant. The author, in the end, addressed fundamental questions in prose that is simple and understated. This is an underrated classic of our time.
While this is a good book for a certain type of baseball fan, it is also simply a good book. Coover delves deep into the human psyche and in the process explores questions of human nature, issues of free will, morality, relativity vs. objective reality, etc. through his character of J. Henry Waugh.
I first read this book when I checked it out of the public library as a teenager, and I loved it. I bought my own copy recently and have since read it twice more. There is great depth to this book that captivates the reader as much as the Association captivates Henry Waugh.
Association in order to re-read it. I initially read it many years back,shortly after it was originally published. I went through the re-read in a couple days, the book fascinated me as much as it had when I first read it. My particular fascination with this novel revolves around the fact that the protagonist, Henry Waugh is a player of table-top baseball games. This is the only novel I know of where that would be true. If you don't know about table-top baseball these are games which are simulations of baseball games, played with cards and dice. It is obviously a rather esoteric pursuit and if you don't know anything about it you might not be interested in the novel. I have played such games all my life as I suspect, Mr. Coover, the author has as well.
The book certainly could be read on several levels, I suspect the author is trying to use Henry Waugh and his fictional baseball universe as an analogy for a much bigger story about God and man and the universe we live in. But that's not what interests me, it's all about the game that Henry plays and the difficulty he has with it for me. In closing, I'll just say again, an excellent book but maybe of limited interest if you're not into games the way I am.
I read the sample on my Kindle and thoroughly enjoyed it and made the purchase for the full book. I enjoyed the main character's over-involvement with his baseball game and how his real life was intertwined. The author is extremely descriptive in describing the baseball characters and all the aspects of his game to the point that you can picture the images clearly.
I soon realized this was more of a book on a dark obsession with a baseball game story line and adjusted my expectations. For me however, there were so many fictional baseball players in the book that I repeatedly had to turn back pages to keep up with them and in hindsight felt I should have written them down as I read. The author blends the main character's story with his fictional players' stories so often without warning, pause, or paragraph it caused me to pause to establish who I was reading about.
As I progressed through the book I wanted to read more about the main character and how his life was deteriorating due to his obsession. Instead I continued to read about these fictional ballplayers he made up and their lives and stories which he was living out in his mind.
If you're looking for a book about a dark obsession, a game like Strat-O-Matic baseball, fictional baseball characters, and descriptive writing; this book is for you. Just be aware that you may not get enough of some and too much of another.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is what it is all about. This is also where it all started. Coover has the ability to get into the mind of every fantasy league owner. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Rip Lowe
Classic early novel by one of America's most innovative writers. Though the baseball is fantasy, it feels most real, and this is a book for baseball fans as well as for literature... Read morePublished 9 months ago by Kathe Davis
A novel based on a fictional game of baseball played with dices... the main character steps up to the plate, to the dismay of his "real" life friends and co-workers... Read morePublished 16 months ago by Luc Archambault
Strange, fascinating, story within a story but not in the way most folks think.
At an obvious level, Henry Waugh is an isolated man who spends his time playing a complex,... Read more
One of the books I've read where I don't want it to end. J. Henry Waugh's journey through the ups and downs of his emotional attachment to tabletop baseball is something I can... Read morePublished on July 7, 2014 by Lee M Babin
If anything, this book has the greatest collection of proper names in a 20th century novel. I don't give a rip for baseball, but the story of obsession was entertaining, funny, and... Read morePublished on June 4, 2014 by B. Lane
if you can get past the dated material and the really elaborated storyline, it can be really addictive. just not for everyone. i was fascinated when i read it in my late twenties. Read morePublished on June 1, 2014 by William P. Xander
Very possibly the best book I have ever read. By using a fantasy baseball game as the vehicle for a metaphorical analysis of myth, Coover has written a masterpiece.Published on February 23, 2014 by Guy S. Michael