THE UNIVERSAL BASEBALL ASSOCIATION, INC. J. HENRY WAUGH PROP by Robert Coover
Kirkus Star

THE UNIVERSAL BASEBALL ASSOCIATION, INC. J. HENRY WAUGH PROP

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KIRKUS REVIEW

He wants to quit but what does he mean, ""quit""? The Game? Life? Could you separate them?"" You can't in Mr. Coover's baseball novel which isn't really altogether about baseball and which floats somewhere up there and sometimes you'll lose the ball looking against the sun and at other times it's carried away on clouds of black humor. However his ear for the twanging vernacular which grounds some of the sliders here (abstractions, aberrations, aspirations) is as true as any since Mark Harris' Bang the Drum Slowly. Well, even if it's hard to call, this one is about Henry Waugh who has a dull job day times and spends the evenings drinking beer and sweet-talking the waitresses before going home to play his game. His Baseball Association which is now in the year LVI has been programmed with claborate data. But behind the logistics and statistics, there are irrational and unpredictable forces determined by a throw of the dice. Like when the dice come up 1-1-1 and Damon Rutherford, a rookie with a magic arm, dies at the plate. And the Association begins to fall apart and there goes the ball game which is, after all, only an eternal escape for ""men turned into boys, whelmed by awe and adolescent wistfulness."" That's certainly much of the attraction of the book, special to be sure; but there's a talent ascendant in a suspension of funny surprises, sad moments, and catchy ideas.

Pub Date: June 18th, 1968
ISBN: 0452260302
Publisher: Random House