Biting, witty, provocative, and sardonic, Bernard Malamud's THE NATURAL is widely considered to be the premier baseball novel of all time. It tells the story of Roy Hobbs--an athlete born with rare and wondrous gifts--who is robbed of his prime playing years by a youthful indiscretion that nearly consists him his life. But at an age when most players are considering retirement, Roy reenters the game, lifting the lowly New York Knights from last place into pennant contention and becoming an instant hero in the process. Now all he has to worry about is the fixers, the boss, the slump, the jinx, the fans...and the dangerously seductive Memo Paris, the one woman Roy can't seem to get out of his mind.
"Sooner or later, I suppose, some one of our generation had to attempt to write a serious novel about baseball....I think, therefore, that it is unfortunate that 'The Natural', which is a serious novel about baseball, should have been written by a man who seems to be completely a captive of the present fashionable cult of the obscure. Bernard Malamud's novel is a troubled mixture of fantasy and realism in which the fantasy is fantastic enough, but the realism is not very real."
J.J. Maloney, New York Herald Tribune Book Review, 8/24/52
"It's an unusually fine novel although I don't know how the professionals are going to take it. For Bernard Malamud's interests go far beyond baseball. What he has done is to contrive a sustained and elaborate allegory in which the 'natural' player--who operates with ease and the greatest skill, without having been taught--is equated with the natural man who, left alone by, say, politicians and advertising agencies, might achieve his real fulfullment....A brilliant and unusual book."
Harry Sylvester, New York Times Book Review, 8/24/52