- Taschenbuch: 432 Seiten
- Verlag: Frog Books (1. Mai 2007)
- Sprache: Englisch
- ISBN-10: 1583941878
- ISBN-13: 978-1583941874
- Größe und/oder Gewicht: 14 x 2,9 x 21,5 cm
- Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 1 Kundenrezension
- Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 888.493 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)
If I Never Get Back: A Novel (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 1. Mai 2007
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“A rawhide odyssey … meticulously historical.… By now the reader is asking ‘And then? And then?’ like a child listening to a storyteller.”—Time “Grabs you from line one on page one and never lets go. Enchanting.” —San Francisco Chronicle “An engrossing, even charming tale.… By its final inning, the reader is sad to see it end.” —The New York Times Book Review“A grand adventure and joyful embrace of baseball the way it ought to be played … If I Never Get Back should be required reading for players and owners as well as fans.”—The Washington Times
A modern-day alienated man, Sam Fowler - stuck in a dead-end job, his life and marriage in disarray - abruptly finds himself transported back in time to the summer of 1869. After a wrenching period of adjustment, he finds himself rejuvenated by his involvement with the nation's first pro baseball players. He also finds himself responding to a time that seems more vital, his senses and tastes quickening as he deals with life-threatening 19th-century challenges on and off the baseball diamond. Through his attachments to the players and to a lovely woman, Caitlin O'Neill, who he seemed predestined to meet, he regains a sense of family that he desperately needs. With Sam, we voyage across post-Civil War America, visiting its smoky, turbulent cities; riding the new transcontinental over prairies and mountains to California; going to dance halls and parlour houses; witnessing financial booms and busts, and meeting notable personalities such as Mark Twain, Ulysses Grant and Jesse James. Small wonder that when Sam is thrust back, involuntarily, into modern times, he yearns to return to the world of 1869.Alle Produktbeschreibungen
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And I also love baseball. (GO DBACKS!)
So when a friend told me about this older novel, I picked up a used copy. I'm glad I did, even though my feelings about the story are mixed. It has moments of absolute wonderfulness, but the storytelling sometimes seems as though the author painted himself into a corner and couldn't find a gracious way out. There are wet footprints through the plot, as a result. And the ending is unsettling.
However, the setup and the setting are outstanding. Our hero, Sam Fowler, is a San Francisco journalist who's coping badly with a divorce, and is called to Cincinnati to deal with his father's death. When his Amtrak has an unscheduled stop, Sam wanders away from the train... and into a fog. When he emerges, he's in 1869, with the members of the Cincinnati Red Stockings -- the first paid baseball team -- clambering onto their own train. With a bit of plot arm-waving (which is fine with me), Sam gets tied into the ball club's road trip... and into their lives.
If you're a baseball fan, it's probably worth the price of the novel just for the lesson in baseball history. The rules were wholly different. The culture was unlike anything we expect. (What's a hot dog?) The technology was nonexistent (count attendance? what's a turnstile?). It's a hoot.
Even better: Brock does a great job of immersing us in a different time and place. For example, the transcontinental railroad is only four years old, and generates the kind of wonder we felt about space travel. We bump into Mark Twain, who acts just as Mark Twain would. The language differences are especially entertaining, since Sam uses anachronistic idioms that his friends don't understand ("You're kidding!"); at one point he and another "ballist" exchange insults, and neither have any idea what the other is saying.
On the other hand, the plot and love story is kind of weak, and somehow I found myself uncaring of the social issues that intertwined the events.
But it's an okay read. I won't press it on you, but I did enjoy reading the book.
To be honest, the baseball part (and it is a large part) did not always engage me (even though I was a star centre fielder in Grade 8). Yet, for any fan this will make the story that much more compelling. Sam ends up traveling with the Cincinnati Red Stockings team helping out as keeper of the gate monies, substitute player, and marketer. The latter part was tons of fun and as another character observes Sam has "such bold ideas!". He introduces advertising and revamps the concessions basically "inventing" ice cream sodas and ballpark hotdogs (thanks to the German frankfurter).
Two tiny events in the book were charming including Sam paying indentured rail workers for a Chinese food dinner that he was craving as it was not in supply at the time (that was something I would do) and teaching his teammates to sing "Yellow Submarine" (I would choose "Satisfaction").
There is much, much more to the novel including the why and how of his time travel, unrequited love, and living life to fullest regardless of the cards you are dealt. Along the way Sam makes friends with Samuel Clemens. Good old Mark Twain pops up in a lot of time travel novels, in this case, he plays a key role and there are nods to his "A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court". The atmosphere of post Civil War America is very well done. It balances that scarring event with the promise of the future...an intended or unintended allegory for Sam's life. As a frequent reviewer of books on Amazon, I am always hesitant to say, "This book should be a movie." In this case, this book should be a movie.
Some of the reviewers didn't care for the romantic aspects of the novel, but I got completely lost in the story within the story between Sam and Cait..Perhaps because my 1st love was also a beautiful Irish girl, I was rooting for Sam all the way....I'll leave it at that.....An amazing piece of fiction wrapped around historical fact
Sam Fowler, (the central character of this historical fiction novel) is a down and out divorcee from the mid-1980's, finds himself suddenly transported back to 1869, where he happens to board a train carrying the very first professional baseball team, the Cincinnati Red Stockings. Fowler is befriended by a player of the team, and soon becomes an integral part of the Red Stockings franchise. This is an absolutely fascinating account of how our national pastime began! It certainly helps to be a baseball fan when reading this book, in fact, this book is REQUIRED reading for any true baseball aficionado, but that aside, even non-baseball fans will enjoy Fowler's adventures in post-Civil War America. Fowler meets his idol, Mark Twain, in his journey, and his conversations and interactions with him are delightful. Fowler gradually becomes aware that his transportation back in time is perhaps more a result of fate rather than circumstance. He meets certain people who reveal that they had a premonition that they were to meet him. As all this slowly and delightfully unravels, Fowler finds his life in danger from a group of Irish thugs, while at the same time, he falls madly in love with the sister of his newfound best friend. This is a book that will entrance you and delight you from first page to last. Great summer reading and a great treatise on how the game of baseball was first played and the men who played it. Top-notch reading!