TARTABULL’S THROW by Henry Garfield


Age Range: 14 & up
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Garfield fills in his werewolf hunter Moondog Nygerski’s (Moondog, 1995; Room 13, 1997) back story with an appetizing whirl of mysterious women, time travel, sex, gruesome death, lost innocence—and baseball, baseball, baseball. In keeping with his premise that time is no more linear than space, the plot curls back on itself repeatedly. Here, failed minor-league prospect Cyrus Nygerski meets beautiful, reticent Cassandra Paine in a bus station, takes her to a pivotal Red Sox/White Sox game (the famously tight pennant race of 1967), then loses her in the crowd. There, they fall in love months earlier, he turns into such an inspired hitter that the White Sox call him up to the “Show,” but after one at-bat wins a pivotal game, he’s murdered by a jealous husband. Meanwhile, on a Maine island, as Cassandra’s ten-year-old brother Timmy’s summer idyll is shattered by violence and parental infidelity, eerie, vulpine creatures appear beneath the full moon, and local tales tell of a bottomless pond with odd properties. As it shakes out, Cassandra becomes the tragic figure, traveling back in time to change the past by saving Nygerski, but then disappearing to protect him from her bestial alter ego. The breakup of the Paine family is detailed at length, and only tangentially relevant to the rest of the tale; otherwise, all the stories within stories make compelling reading, and their complex relationship is—more or less—made clear by the end. Textured, evocative prose that creates a rich milieu for a dark, multi-layered romance. (Fiction. YA)

Pub Date: May 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-689-83840-9
Page count: 272pp
Publisher: Richard Jackson/Atheneum
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15th, 2001


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