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The Natural: A Novel (FSG Classics)
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2 von 2 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich.
am 12. Mai 2000
In his 1952 novel, Bernard Malamud comments on the role of the hero in the modern world. In order to do so, he parallels Roy, the baseball natural and protagonist, with Percival the Arthurian knight. Roy is on a quest to join the game of baseball at the beginning of the novel. His first failure comes when he answers Harriet Bird's question wrong. When asked what he wants to become as a ballplayer, Roy can think of nothing more than personal gain. By inserting this in his book Malamud implies that many stars are in the game only for themselves. This refers to Percival asking the Fisher King the wrong question and being turned away. After a lapse of about fifteen years, Roy tries again to make it big in the pros. He joins a team called the New York Knights, an obvious relation to Arthurian legend, with the team coach Pop Fisher. Pop not only serves as a parent figure for Roy but he also resembles the Fisher King in the tale of Percival. Roy, who started out as a pitcher and is now a slugger, a reference to Babe Ruth, has made his own bat and dubbed it "Wonderboy". Roy's hitting is unbelievable while using this bat and he quickly becomes the league slugger. Percival, much like Roy, created his own lance with which to do battle. As Roy continues to increase in popularity, he is confronted with a wish from a dying lad at a hospital. His father asks Roy to hit a home run for his son because that is the only way his son will survive. Roy accepts this challenge and does in fact knock one out of the park for the boy and in doing so saving him. This alludes to Babe Ruth hitting a home run for the same reason. Malamud inserts this into his novel to show that even though most ballplayers are playing for personal gain, some also try to give back to the supporters. In a conversation with Iris Lemon, one of Roy's many loves, they discuss the importance of heroes. Iris, and in essence Malamud, states "Without heroes we're all plain people and don't know how far we can go." (167) This shows that Malamud respects heroes and expects them to set examples meant to be followed by all. There are many more examples of the hero motif as well as the Arthurian allusions near the end of the story, but in order to not spoil the ending, I will stop. Malamud does not only use these two motifs in his story but also many others such as color scheme, a bird motif, a train motif, and numerous allusions to events in baseball history. Beware though, this novel contains many scenes involving sexual topics. Malamud's use of these literary devices as well as his brilliant descriptions throughout the book make this story a must read for high school students.
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1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich.
am 6. Mai 2000
A natural is defined as one who has natural talent, especially in baseball. In Bernard Malamud's 1952 novel, The Natural, written in Arthurian legend style, Roy Hobbs leads the New York Knights into victory after victory. With his trusty Excalibur-like bat dubbed "Wonderboy", Hobbs uses his natural talent and leads the Knights on a mythical quest for the pennant. In contrast, however, a natural may also mean, as it did in the Middle Ages, an innocent fool. In the novel, Malamud uses both definitions to tell a story of a hero whose pride got in the way. Throughout the book, Malamud uses references to different colors and the passage of the seasons as Roy meets a variety of different characters. The father-like coach of the Knights Pop Fisher, his puzzling love interest Memo, the pure Iris, the crooked gambler Gus Sands, and many more diverse characters help create a theme of good versus evil. From the ballfield where Roy wages battle, to the Pot of Fire night club where Roy is confronted with evil, Malamud develops the tragic story of a hero on a grail-like quest who is tempted by the forces of evil at every turn. In the novel, written much like a play, Malamud utilizes a pastoral style to present complex ideas in a natural way. Using film-technique, which is movie-like changes in scene, Malamud shows Roy's struggle to overcome the evil in his life. Facing the fixers, the fans, the slump, and the jinx, Roy Hobbs embarks on a mythical quest to battle pride and evil in a classic tale of the tarnishing of an American icon.
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1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich.
am 15. März 2004
Ein schönes Buch über das Leben! Jeder kennt die Höhen und Tiefen des Roy Hobbs und kann sie auf sein eigenes Leben transformieren. Zwar sind wir nicht alle Baseballspieler, aber ein jeder strebt nach dem Besten, dem Wunsch der Unvergänglichkeit, der Unsterblichkeit und der Sehnsucht des Glückes. Wir alle kennen das Gefühl des Leidens, die Erlösung, wenn es vorbei ist und die Erkenntnis, dass wir etwas daraus gelernt haben. All dies erfährt der Baseballspieler Hobbs am eigenen Leibe. Er ist arrogant, ehrgeizig und benötigt ein Wellental der Ups and Downs um am Ende zur erneut erdrückenden Erkenntnis zu gelangen. Dennoch läßt das relativ offene Ende des Buches die Hoffnung durchscheinen, dass Roy Hobbs nun "vollkommen auf dem Boden der Tatsachen" angekommen ist und möglicherweise ein neues, bescheideneres Leben mit Iris und dem gemeinsamen Sohn beginnt.
Insgesamt ist das Buch (zumindest in der orig. Fassung) sehr schön geschrieben und liest sich sehr flüssig und gut. Für nicht Amerikaner könnte es allerdings an manchen Stellen ein wenig undurchsichtig sein, da es ein gewisses Maß an Regelkenntnis des Baseballs voraussetzt.
Ich halte es trotzdem für ausgesprochen empfehlenswert.
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am 28. Juni 2000
"The Natural" is the story of Roy Hobbs, a baseball player with nearly supernatural talent. After losing his early career to a shooting, he returns to the Major Leagues at age 34. Still a tremendous player, he carries his team into the race for the National League pennant. However, he is plagued with indecision over which love interest to pursue and the temptation to solve his money problems by fixing games.
A month after finishing "The Natural," I still do not know just what to make of it. I cannot reconcile the two opposing influences that this book exerts on its readers. On the one hand, we love Roy Hobbs for his incredible baseball exploits, and we are rooting for his New York Knights to win the pennant wholeheartedly. On the other, I found myself seething with hatred for Roy when I felt that he should have been stronger. I even hated Bernard Malamud himself for not creating a more perfect character; emotionally, I resented that he had written a novel with twists and turns and an uncertain outcome, rather than an uplifting hagiography about how Roy Hobbs conquered baseball. In many ways, it is a fascinating book. It tells a compelling story, and it beautifully captures the suspense and exhilaration of professional sports. While I was reading the scenes that actually take place on the baseball diamond, I felt the same thrill one experiences while watching an exciting game but usually does not feel while reading a newspaper account of a game.
This is why the conflict between the uplift associated with Roy's strength and the moralization associated with Roy's weakness is so profound: reading about Roy's trials and tribulations is like watching a favorite team lose. The Natural may make for more serious literature this way, but it can be difficult to digest sometimes at a visceral level. Nonetheless, I have come to appreciate this side of "The Natural": I have gotten as much enjoyment from ruminating over it as I did while I was actually reading it. If nothing else, one must admire Malamud's courage for making a statement at all.
The writing is mostly brilliant, but I do have one small reservation. Occasionally, Malamud omits commas or strings sentences together with comma splices. In order for me to make these passages mentally register, I have to "translate" them to correct grammar, which takes energy and makes it more difficult for me to become absorbed in a book.
Incidentally, this book (which was published in 1952) makes a very cogent argument for free agency. I often hear people grumbling about how much athletes get paid and how they have no loyalty to their fans or their team. If one considers the nearly complete impotence of Roy Hobbs, and, indeed, all athletes before free agency, in dealing with the owner, though, the case for free agency becomes much stronger. If the owner does not have to compete with other teams to keep a player, he can pay players whatever he likes. As a result, the players see little of the profit that the team is turning, and some players, such as Roy in "The Natural," make subsistence level wages. If the story took place today, Roy would have had no dilemma over fixing. Of course, he would also have made millions in advertising today, whereas in the world of 1952 companies are unwilling to sign him because they fear he is a flash in the pan.
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am 30. April 2000
Roy was just a semipro player when a scout found him and begged to help bring him a career in baseball. The story begins during Roy's journey on the train to Chicago in order to get into the game as a pro. It is a dream come true for Roy, who has all faith in himself to become a legend. He has his share of troubles, and at times remains in a state of despair as he journeys to the top. Some, like Harriet Bird and Bump Bailey, wish greatly to bring him down for their own gain. Others, however, want Roy to achieve success as badly as he wants it for himself. Pop Fisher, the manager of the Knights only wants to help Roy succeed. While reading The Natural, by Bernard Malamud, one soon discovers his use of motifs and themes in this great story of baseball. Throughout this novel, Malamud links his story with allusions of past historical events in baseball. Perhaps Roy Hobbs reminds you of Babe Ruth and perhaps you notice the White Sox scandal of 1919 somewhere in the novel. Malamud also makes reference to Roy's bat "Wonderboy" as his lance, linking the story to a time of legends and knights (Knights also being the team Roy plays for).There are elements of comedy like Pop Fisher, the manager, and his odd rash, and elements of tragedy, too. Roy's want for success is paralleled with his desire for food and his overconsumption, and also is linked to his desire for the love of Memo Paris. Malamud also uses the train theme from the beginning as a source of constant motion for Roy's life. Roy encounters many women that he intends to love and their relationships spin out of control like the game of baseball he plays for The Knights. Roy discovers he is not always free like a bird, sometimes even "caged", which is another motif Malamud includes in the novel, showing the nievity and suseptability of people. Roy is a bird of baseball in this incredible novel by Bernard Malamud, which solidifies the game of baseball for your own understanding and enjoyment.
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am 27. April 2000
The main character of the novel, Roy, plays ball for the New York Knights but also resembles a knight from an Arthurian legend. He participates in many duals, all testing of his ability. First, he challenges "the Whammer," the American League batting champion, in a three pitch dual. Then the Knights best pitcher, Fowler, tries to get a ball past Roy but he hits all of his pitches over the fence. A motif that Malamud reveals all throughout the novel is the fall of a hero, which happens to Roy not only on the field but to himself. For Roy, the ultimate goal in baseball is to be the best there ever was. Unfortunately for Roy, all he thinks that is important is baseball and he is blind to the persons around him who await his downfall. Malamud manages to make baseball into a mythical and magical sport where the ballpark becomes an arena and the players become knights, dualing for every pitch. Roy uses a bat that is his Excalibur, it cracks with thunder and flashes like lightning when he swings. The players race to catch fly balls and the batters charge around the bases to get extra base hits. The novel takes a central focus on Roy's baseball career, but also includes a psychological aspect and a romantic part of Roy. I would recomend this novel to anyone who likes baseball, but also to those interested in seeing the quest of a man and how baseball defines him. I give the novel four stars becuase Malamud uses accurate historical allusions with a sense of importance; he expands on meaningful passages but breifly states things as fast as they happen. For instance, when Roy hits a homer against Fowler, Malamud simply writes that he sends it 20 rows deep in center field. But as Roy strikes out "the Whammer," Malamud extends into how "the Whammer" was growing old and describes the third strike like a crashing planet. But overall the book maintains a good pace and keeps the reader entertained but also manages to sneak in thoughtful insights.
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am 11. Mai 1999
Comparing "The Natural" the book to "The Natural" the movie is like comparing a fine multi-course meal to a big chocolate cake. Both are fine to eat, but expect a lot more variety and nuance out of the meal, not just the sweetness of the dessert. The book is the dark story of a strong and talented man ultimately taken down by his weaknesses. The movie is completely the opposite -- a typical Hollywood story of a hero overcoming adversity to emerge triumphant. Having read the book before seeing the movie, I was appalled at the movie's complete change of message from the book. Although I can understand the point of view of those who came to the book after the movie, it seems a bit simplistic to fault it on the basis that the ending was a bummer because it was not the happy one of the movie. Hollywood has always done that trick well -- "Breaking Away", "Hoosiers", "Rocky" etc. etc. etc. And they -- along with "The Natural" -- are good movies. But Malamud's true genius in "The Natural" (the book!) is that Roy Hobbs is not an icon -- he is a superman who turns out to be all too frail, a man on the run from the demons of his past, seeking his salvation in the power of his talents.
There is nothing the matter with harmless escapism such as "The Natural" The Movie. But life is so much more complicated than that - a point which Bernard Malamud understands and commiunicates so well, and which Barry Levinson and his screenwriters have chosen to overlook.
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am 14. Mai 2000
The sound of bat whipping against the ball, the smell of the leather from the gloves perfuming the air, and the cheers and jeers of the crowd, are many of the elements found in Bernard Malamud's, "The Natural". In the 1952 novel, Roy Hobbs, the story's protagonist and hero, is considered by many to old and out of his prime. But Roy, with his stubborn demeanor and special bat, "Wonderboy", proves his critics wrong. Malamud takes you out to the ballpark on warm summer days, where Roy is on a "quest" to bring the last place Knights, out of the cellar and into the spotlight. Roy's task isn't easy with the likes of Harriet Bird and Memo Paris standing close by. Malamud offers a variety of motifs and allusions in The Natural. The "bird" motif pops up when Roy feels "caged" and inhibited. The 1919 White Sox gambling scandal can also be found in the novel. The incident where Roy succeeds in smashing a homerun for a sick little boy, offers insight into Roy's hero-like qualities. Malamud also depicts the life of the "old-timey" ballplayers, with their endless nights of club-hopping and alcohol. This type of behavior is also prevalent in many of today's athletes. With his back against the wall, Roy Hobbs and "Wonderboy", do battle with the gamblers, the owner, and his love interests, to take the Knights to the pennant race.
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am 21. Januar 1999
I wish that I would have read the book before I had watched the movie. I went into The Natural expecting to experience an uplifting story of a country boy who makes good, wins over his childhood sweetheart, and lives happily ever after. That, suffice to say, is not the way the book plays out. As a warning, other readers who enter the book with those same sort of narrow expectations will doubtlessly be disappointed somewhere along the way. However, I would be remiss to say that, in spite of the aforementioned let-downs (and perhaps even partly because of them), I found this work to be a facinating read. Malamud details a commentary on life, interspersed with wonderful Arturian allusions, through a saga of the game of baseball. Hobbs' character illustrates that, contrary to the movie's claim, that talent alone is not enough to succeed in life, and the way in which the story unfolds, while admittedly somewhat simple, is entertaining all the same. Once I got into it, I couldn't put the book down. The best advice I could give to readers would be to be open minded of the storyline, and not to limit yourself to preconceived expectations (this assuming you have watched the movie first). In doing so, I expect one will find Malamud's style to be fluid and his tale to be valuable.
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Roy Hobbs ist ein Kämpfer, er ist nicht unterzukriegen, charmant, doch auch dämlich wie Stroh. Nicht umsonst wurde er im Film mit Robert Redford besetzt. ((Diesen Film habe ich nicht gesehen, doch Szenenfotos prangen auf dem Umschlag dieser meiner Auflage mit derselben ISBN (aber 217 Seiten))).

Zur Handlung: Naturtalent Roy Hobbs beißt sich zum Baseballhelden durch und womöglich hat er am Ende auch seinen Pfad weg vom naiven Egoisten geschafft. Ich lasse bewusst ganz viel dazwischen weg, um nichts zu verraten, doch es geht um Versuchung, Korruption, Ruhm, Liebe und Kraft.

Die Baseballanspielungen habe ich als Nicht-Yankee natürlich vermutlich alle nur halb verstanden, doch das Buch trägt auch so. Wer will, kann die Figur des "Natural" auch als die des natürlichen Toren sehen, eines zweiten Parsivals. Und "Roy" beinhaltet auch das "Roi", den König.

Zum Abschluss noch die Pointe, dass sich eins der besten Bücher über Bill Clinton den Titel "The Natural" borgte (auf Deutsch: "Das Naturtalent. Die verkannte Präsidentschaft Bill Clintons" ...

Vier Sterne, ja fast mehr.
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