YOU KNOW ME AL (Hudson River Editions)

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9780025684409: YOU KNOW ME AL (Hudson River Editions)

Ring Lardner was an American original. He had countless imitators -- journalists who tried to reproduce his uncanny virtuosity with the American idiom; writers who tried to evoke his brilliant blend of drama and irony. Yet he remains without rival.

You Know Me AI is Ring Lardner at his best. It is a classic of baseball, the game, and the community. Through a series of letters from a bush-league pitcher to his not quite anonymous friend Al, Lardner maintains a superb balance between the funny and the moving, the pathetic and the glorious. And Jack Keefe, the correspondent of these letters, is one of his most brilliant achievements.

In a revealing and comprehensive introduction, John Lardner, the author's son and a well-known writer himself, demonstrates, with the testimony of such disparate voices as Virginia Woolf and H. L. Mencken, the awesomely complex reputation of You Know Me Al.

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Review:

In his day, Ring Lardner was a legendary humorist (a job-description he disavowed), and You Know Me Al shows why everyone loved him so. In the letters of Jack Keefe, a bush-league pitcher who finally gets his chance in the majors, Lardner shows not only a faultless ear, but also a keen eye for the amusing details of human folly. Keefe is no comical bumbler--he has talent--but also possesses astonishing naïvete, and a lack of self-awareness that is unerringly hilarious. The busher blames everyone but himself for his failures (a trait that Lardner uses to wonderful comic effect in the story "Alibi Ike"). Still, thanks to Keefe's mixture of hubris and puppy-dog trust, you want to see him come out all right.

Lardner--who played a role in breaking the infamous "Black Sox" scandal of 1919--wrote You Know Me Al while covering pro baseball in the teens; for baseball fans, the book is an intriguing glimpse into the past. Athletes haven't changed much, poor devils. They're just as funny as ever, only richer.

About the Author:

Ring W. Lardner (1885-1933), America’s great humorist and short-story writer, began his career as a sports writer. His stories, often cynical and pessimistic, are peopled by ordinary characters. He often used his own experiences as inspiration for his fiction. Some of his other works include Round Up, Haircut, and The Big Town.


 

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