A Short History of the Long Ball by Justin Cronin

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Synopsis

Recipient of the National Novella Award, this fiction debut is embarrassingly underdone, its sentences awkward and its themes limply conveyed. Narrator Jake Conklin grows up in an affluent suburb, friend of the cosmopolitan Donny Flannigan. Both grapple with their fathers in the painful movement toward manhood. Conventional Jake becomes a journalist and writer, marries and fathers a son of his own, but Donny succumbs to heroin addiction and very slowly battles his way out. The pivotal scenes are also the least authentic: Jake's visit to Donny in a chemical-dependency unit, the birth of Jake's child, the resolution of the friends' adolescent rivalry. Despite Cronin's attempts at artfulness, ("My work has taken me all over the world," says Jake, "but never in my experience have I found the right words to capture the uncomplicated beauty of light in trees"), the dramatic possibilities of his story evade him.
 

About Justin Cronin

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Born and raised in New England, Justin Cronin is a graduate of Harvard University and the Iowa Writers' Workshop. Awards for his fiction include the Stephen Crane Prize, a Whiting Writers' Award, and a Pew Fellowship in the Arts. He is a professor of English at Rice University and lives with his wife and children in Houston, Texas.From the Hardcover edition.
 
Published October 1, 1995 by Council Oak Books. 91 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for A Short History of the Long Ball

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The narrator and Donny, neighbors, play baseball together: when one ball sails into the trees, they ""rooted through those like archaeologists in a ruined cave, and when we found old balls, we found new ways to use them."" Cronin's prose carries such metaphors easily, for the most part, as the bo...

May 01 1990 | Read Full Review of A Short History of the Long Ball

Publishers Weekly

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The pivotal scenes are also the least authentic: Jake's visit to Donny in a chemical-dependency unit, the birth of Jake's child, the resolution of the friends' adolescent rivalry.

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