Albert Biederman, pushing forty, is a sportswriter in River City, Iowa, where college basketball carries the town through the cold winter months. The River State University team has been newly energized by a junior-college transfer who is from Chicago's South Side. Belvyn Menkus is a blond-Afroed point guard who takes the game to a higher level--"the first player," Al says, "to stir my imagination in eighteen years of covering River State basketball." Researching Menkus's background, Al discovers forged transcriptions and recruiting violations. Breaking the story could land him a job on a big-city paper, but what would that cost the player, the town, and Al's own sense of the justice of the game?
In his introduction, former New York Times sports columnist Ira Berkow notes that Heroes "goes beyond the bounds" of its surface subject: "from a good seat and perspective in the press box," the novel tells its reader about the dynamic of watching the action rather than participating in it. The aging Biederman can no longer grasp the transcendence basketball once provided him. Yet he still pursues it through his reporting and the figure of a lone inner-city star who appears to provide what one reviewer called "proof that there still is purity, perfection, transcendence in the world." Biederman's hope is for Menkus to give him a release from "regular time" and his modest life. By focusing on Biederman's pursuit, Heroes probes the larger issue of whether we can use vicariousness to infuse the workaday world with new significance. It also shows us how to continue drawing significance from ordinary life if and when that transcendence fails to emerge.
From the Inside Flap
"Heroes is the only literate fiction ever written about basketball. I enjoyed it very much."--W.P. Kinsella, author of Shoeless Joe
From the Back Cover