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The Natural (Perennial Classics) Paperback

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Product Details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Perennial (HarperCollins)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060958294
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060958299
  • Product Dimensions: 20.3 x 13.5 x 1.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 295 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (57 customer reviews)

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First Sentence
Roy Hobbs pawed at the glass before thinking to prick a match with his thumbnail and hold the spurting flame in his cupped palm close to the lower berth window, but by then he had figured it was a tunnel they were passing through and was no longer surprised at the bright sight of himself holding a yellow light over his head, peering back in. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 22 2004
Format: Paperback
I read this book on the strength of the Robert Redford movie and not only because I was looking for a happy ending, either. It's usually the case where the movie adaptation of a book strips down the characters and pursues fewer plot lines than the book. But in this sad, bump-along novel, it's just the opposite.
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.
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Format: Paperback
Why would a well-rounded baseball player bring down his team's chances of winning a championship game? Roy Robbs, the main character of the novel, seems to have reasons for creating this downfall. He experienced numerous, tragic flaws led to his downfall. Roy brings his team down, makes regretful decisions, ignores the coach, and chose to be around the wrong characters in the novel.
Being on a team does not mean one person does all the work. A team needs everyone to contribute and if one person lets up, it could bring the rest of the team down. In this book, Roy brings the team down in a couple of different ways. He started letting the team down after he replaced the best player on the team who had recently passed away. He did not care about being a team player as he said to Harriet, a lady he met on the bus, "I bet some day I will break every record for throwing and hitting"(pg.30). These dreams of wealth and power set him up for failure. Also, shortly after the team started winning, Roy had fallen into a major league slump and the whole team fell apart. This left them wandering if they would ever recover from their losing streak.
His decision making about women was less then desirable. Some of the decisions he made didn't make sense. First, he fell for a women named Memo Paris shortly after he noticed her for the first time. He didn't even know her and he was determined to meet her. After her boyfriend died, she hung out with him and blamed him for Bump's death. Throughout the book, she had been setting him up for disaster. All she wanted was his money and fame. He didn't even realize she was using him. Later in the book, he meets another lady named Iris, who helped him break out of his slump. She was very understanding and kind to him.
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By Ashley on March 2 2004
Format: Paperback
In the beggining of the story, Roy Hobbs is traveling to Chicago where he will try out for the cubs. His destiny is altered when a woman named Harriet Bird shoots Roy in the stomach leaving him unable to play the game of baseball for years to follow.
Fifteen years later, Roy gets his start on a professional baseball team called the Knights. During this time, the story reveals Roy's character flaws. Although he is seen by all to be one of the best baseball players that ever lived, his big ego, sexual tendencies, and large appetite set him behind in the game. In the end of the story, Roy loses it for the team on account of these flaws.
Important characters in this story are Memo,Pop,Max Mercy and The Judge.
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.
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Format: Library Binding
"The Natural" is a quiet, contemplative novel that uses the mythology of baseball to frame a poetic parable of fate...of the idea of "what could have been."
Baseball, more than any other sport, has a history composed equally of fact and legend. That's its' charm. Using that gauzy place between the real and the myth, Malamud tells the tale of Roy Hobbs, the greatest baseball player who ever lived, but who hardly ever played.
Hobbs' life, at least the part we are privy to, is shaped by his decisions and actions surrounding three women. They each, and I'm reducing this to absurdity, represent a basic ideal: home-spun decency, harsh reality and seductive temptation. It could be said that where he ends up at the end of the novel is determined solely by the choices he makes regarding each woman. His character becomes better defined as the reader discovers Hobbs' feelings towards each as well.
It's difficult not to see Robert Redford's face in the mind's eye, nor to hear Randy Newman's music in the background whilst reading the book. Those images and sounds have penetrated popular culture so deeply, it doesn't matter if you haven't seen the movie.
Read the book first, then see the movie. They actually make the other better.
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