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Recently widowed and now retired, Billy Bryan is "coming to the end of many things." Then a long-forgotten scrapbook stirs memories of a distant past--and beckons him and his grown daughter on a reluctant journey to relive his role in history. In 1947 Billy Bryan is playing winter ball in Cuba, his future as uncertain as the island country. Then one fateful night Bryan witnesses a young student radical named Fidel unleash an amazing curveball. So begins Billy's tug-of-war with destiny. . . .
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Everybody has a past; some are more intriguing than others. When retired schoolteacher Billy Bryan's daughter begins cleaning his house a few days after his wife's death, she finds in the forgotten pages of his dusty scrapbook part of a past she's never known. The memories they invoke send the grieving Billy--"I think God has fed me a breaking ball to keep me off balance"--and his daughter on a remarkable journey back to his youth, where, as a major-league hopeful, he played winter baseball in Cuba half a century ago. It was there that his life changed when he crossed paths with a young student radical with a dynamite curve and a revolutionary's fire named Fidel Castro.
Wendel's lustrous prose and imaginative storytelling paint a vivid portrait of a life not just lived, but inhaled against a backdrop of a nation mad for baseball and not far from political and social upheaval. Having caught Castro's extraordinarily feathery curveball in an exhibition, Billy befriends the future leader, falling under his charismatic spell and enormous dreams for a new nation. Billy also falls, deeply, for a beautiful Cuban photographer who is so caught by Castro's visions that destiny deems the strands of their lives can never twine. "Castro was a hurricane unto himself," Billy recalls. "When I first met him, that side of him seemed refreshing, almost funny in a strange way." But the closer he got to Cuba's future leader, the more that would change. Just how much--and at what personal cost--is the secret that Billy, now an old man on a return trip to his past, must confront as if it were a fastball down the heart of his life, and make his peace with it at last. --Jeff SilvermanFrom the Back Cover:
"Engrossing . . . Wendel's characters are complex and passionate. The unfolding of their lives is fascinating."
--The Washington Post
"Irresistible . . . Castro's Curveball has all the excitement of a tie-breaking home run."
--The Baltimore Sun
"Tim Wendel's love and impressive knowledge of baseball suffuses every page of this passionate novel of love, loss, and the real freedom that wisdom and time sometimes bring."
Coauthor of Baseball: An Illustrated History
"A cleverly imaginative, spirited and engaging novel . . . The author brilliantly depicts life in Havana both pre- and post-Castro, and his baseball lingo is lively and authentic."
--Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
"A beguiling mix of thriller and love story . . . capturing the Bull Durham-like camaraderie of has-beens and wanna-bes struggling to keep their dreams alive."
"Outstanding . . . Some of the best game-action sequences in fiction. . . . Multifaceted and intriguing."
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Book Description Ballantine Books, 2000. Paperback. Condition: New. Reprint. Seller Inventory # DADAX0345434749
Book Description Ballantine Books, 2000. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M0345434749
Book Description Ballantine Books, 2000. Paperback. Condition: New. Never used!. Seller Inventory # P110345434749