This new American classic has raised folk-culture fanaticism for baseball to its ordained place in mythology, and the reverbations carry far beyond the park. 5 cassettes.
The "Natural" doesn't stand the test of time. Maybe way back in the day you could have invented a Roy Hobbs and the anti-hero story would be received as edgy and avant garde. But it's hokey now and too simplistic: the would-be hero who can't prevail because he chases what's bad for him and ensures his own destruction in spite of tremendous "natural" talent. We're not surprised by the ending at all. We expect it. We get it. We saw it play out in the last presidential administration. We're sick of it.
It's one thing for a novel to be dark, it's another for that darkness to get in the way of the narrative, character development, and so on. Which is exactly what I loved so much about the movie. Remember those great scenes with Wilfred Brimley and the assistant coach? Remember when they were whistling to each other, playing "name that tune?" Those two characters have absolutely no depth at all in this book. The manager's reduced to a grouchy head of steam full of resentment and doubt for everyone. The assistant coach is just a box of fortune cookies come alive, kicking out hayseed credos and cutting the tension here and there. People we thought we KNEW by the end of the movie barely have any narrative power ripple over them in this book.
Some of the pitiful contrivances are out-of-this world corny, implausible, or irrelevant: Roy's chance meeting with Memo, his gargantuan appetite, his magic tricks. Pages which should have been devoted to developing Roy's internal crisis and his unpreparedness for the world around him are wasted with vaudevillian-style hijinks where one character "gets over" on another.
Hat's off to the writers of this movie. I didn't know they had to stretch this far to make such a great film. I've no problem with sad endings and disappointments, just don't play me "When the Saints Go Marching In" for 250 pages and call it "Ave Maria."
Id have to say i thoroughly enjoyed this novel. Malamud's writing style is fast paced and an easy read. He uses metaphors quite often resulting in an in depth perspective. I wasnt too keen about the idea of reading a novel about baseball, but Malamud makes this story so much more than just that.