John Grisham (JG) has tens of thousands of fans in Europe reading his creations in English or in translation. But this book will confuse and disturb many, esp. female readers, whilst French, German, etc. translations are unlikely to appear (unlike possible Spanish, Korean or Japanese versions). Why? Because it deals with baseball and baseball is no big deal in Europe. Only Italy and the Netherlands have a baseball tradition with promotion/relegation leagues and a small fan base.
It is useful to understand the game, its rules and rich vocabulary before buying this riveting tale about the lives of (fictional) veteran pitcher Warren Tracey (34; NY Mets) and (fictional) upstart batter Joe Castle (21; Chicago Cubs) and their fateful encounter in late August of 1973. The story is told by Warren’s son Paul more than thirty years after the event. Also, thirty years since he played or watched a game of baseball himself. He was 11 when it happened and a great fan of Joe Castle, a newcomer (‘rookie’) making an instant impression, breaking record after record. He also describes his feelings about his awful, philandering, hard-drinking and indifferent father, who adheres to old codes about pitchers’ honor.
Watching with his mother in Shea stadium the duel between his dad and his hero Calico Joe, little Paul is the only fan to see it coming, knowing his dad too well… The rest is for readers to enjoy and devour, because this is a superbly plotted- and written tale of lifelong shame for father and son. This reader expects much debate by fans about how Grisham concluded the tale. But he thought up a story and told it well.